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Mohawk #1 in provincial student satisfaction By Diane Baltaz Mohawk College officials credit ongoing renovations to the college’s facilities as a major reason why the college ranks tops in a provincial student satisfaction survey. The 2011 government-sanctioned Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Survey indicates that students and recent alumni rated Mohawk College as Number One of the province’s large colleges in terms of satisfaction; and for the second consecutive year, Mohawk was ranked first for colleges in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The survey, released in April, 2012, ranked the colleges for the quality of the campus’s programs and learning, the quality of facilities and services and the overall satisfaction of students and graduates. Since 1998, Ontario Colleges mandated the province’s 24 colleges to collect and report performance data. All full time college students in the province complete the KPI survey, which is administered by an independent research company. The survey’s 24 questions are based on five factors: student satisfaction, graduate satisfaction, employer satisfaction, employment rate and the graduation rate. The survey is part of the government process for transparency and accountability from the province’s colleges. Mohawk College scored above the provincial average in most categories, in spite of warnings in the KPI survey list that each college’s rankings depend upon local employment conditions, college size and student demographics. What is Mohawk doing to deserve these ratings from its 16,000 full time and apprenticeship students? “The KPI survey really looks at the quality of the teaching, programs and services,” said Jay Robb, Director Communications at Mohawk. He credits major changes to Mohawk’s buildings in the past four years to much of the high student ratings. Many of these changes, which he describes as being “some of the largest changes in the


PATHWAYS | Fall / Winter 2012

history of the college” directly came from student comments about their needs. “We always had outstanding faculty and staff,” said Robb. “Now the caliber of our facilities are equal to the quality of our teaching and the services we provide. On Fennel (the main campus in Hamilton) the changes on a scale that you’ve never seen done before. That’s part of the reason why we have high marks.” Robb explained that the main campus building “is a more than 40 year-old building – it has good bones but it was showing its age. Students told us what we need to do and it become our to-do list. For example, students came from the parking lots to the classrooms and between classes went back to the parking lots. Now the (newly-renovated) Cummings Library is a place where students can go to – it is very light. We have other places on campus for students to get together with friends and classmates as opposed to sitting on cars in the parking lot.” The renovations included new labs and other hands-on training facilities for various academic programs. For instance, Robb said that the college created an executive board room at the campus’s McKeil School of Business in order to familiarize business students with board room dynamics. A new digital printing centre for graphic design students has equipment comparable to those used by area companies. Moreover, the centre created an advertising agency for marketing, advertising and public relations students; agency teams do free work for community non-profit groups as part of their learning process. Now administration is working on streamlining the Fennel campus’s maze of “wings” into districts in order that courses are better-clustered around specific programs, such as human services or business. Construction is also beginning presently on a new fitness and recreation centre, which Robb predicts will open in time for the 2013-2014 academic year.

The college is also the largest trainer of apprentices in Ontario and claims to provide the best facilities in Ontario for this purpose. This work involved major updates of Mohawk’s skilled trades campus in Stoney Creek. The MohawkMcMaster Institute of Applied Health Sciences has radiology labs for its medical programs, and a mock hospital wards provide students in registered and practical nursing programs handson experience before they move into actual placements. Its collaborative programs which are done in conjunction with other institutions, including Six Nations Polytechnic Institute, ensure students of attaining high-quality accreditation upon graduation. “Mohawk is probably the first community college to offer collaborative degree with a university (The Mohawk-McMaster Institute for Applied Health Sciences),” said Robb, adding that there is another collaborative program in engineering. Moreover, a new McMaster-Mohawk collaboration permits university social science students to take Mohawk social science courses as electives. Robb said, “if they take the right mix of courses when they graduate, these students can have a degree from McMaster and a certificate from Mohawk at the same time. Also, human services programs at Mohawk can take courses at McMaster. In that way, Mohawk is like a prep school for McMaster and Mohawk is a finishing school for university grads who come here looking to add some practical experience to their education.” Robb notes that only one-third of the students enrolled come directly from high school. “The majority of them have been out of school for awhile; maybe they are working, or looking for work or want a better job. Our students are really career focused -- they want to get a job after graduation.” “So we listen to what students are telling us what they need; and with help from the college, the province and other partners, we started working though that list,” concluded Robb. We don’t take the scores for granted. We don’t rest on our laurels.”


to Pathways Magazine By Diane Baltaz Historically, Ontario’s post-secondary education got its biggest push from the “Baby Boom”. This post-war baby explosion created a bulge in the development of new schools; first for elementary and larger higher schools; then, as the 1960s approached, for post-secondary institutions such as universities and colleges of applied arts and technology. Most Ontario colleges began after May 21, 1965, the day when the Minister of Education, the Honourable William G. Davis, tabled Bill-153 to create a post-secondary educational system that differed from those of universities. The colleges of applied arts and technology have since offered Ontario College Diplomas; they also spawned programs leading to official certification in skilled trades that are regulated by professional associations. William Davis, who eventually became premier, knew that future generations needed such institutions as much as the bulge of Baby Boomers did. He certainly anticipated the future. In today’s constantly-changing economic climate, 70 per cent of future jobs require post secondary education. Your choice to pursue a university or college education or apprenticeship training is central to your future success, both in terms of personal fulfillment and in financial security. The Ontario employment situation has changed since Bill Davis’s days. As late as the late 1970s, when Ontario had a strong, industrial base, it was not uncommon for people to directly assume relatively well-paying jobs in factories upon graduating from high school. Older workers who started their careers at area factories in those days tell stories about how relatively easy it was to find a job with better pay or working conditions -- often through

“Help Wanted” ads or through word of mouth. Since then, shifting economic and political policies have resulted in the decline of Southern Ontario’s industrial base and a change in job patterns, and increased unemployment rates, and in some instances, concerns about liability. Employers are less willing to train people on the job and instead demand people who are already certified through college or university programs. This has resulted in an increase in applications to post-secondary institutions. In fact, some post-secondary graduates subsequently apply for further education, either to pursue special programs within their chosen profession, or for specific skills that may or may not be related to their original degree. For instance, according to Colleges Ontario, a small but noteworthy cohort of university grads (about 10,000) are applying to community colleges. There is increased emphasis on ensuring that prospective students choose the campus or program most suitable to their needs: most campuses have Aboriginal Community Outreach Advisors and Student Success and Retention Officers who will actually assist prospective students determine whether they should go to their institution or choose another career path. Funding is a greater issue these days: pressure upon provincial resources have caused ministries of education across Canada to demand more self-funding from students. Information from the Canadian Federation of Students reveal that during the 1960s and 1970s, 90% of postsecondary education was covered by the government. Taxpayers’ share dropped to 57% by 2000, with tuition fees covering the balance. Most Ontario colleges and universities have Aboriginal Community Outreach

Officers and financial services geared to assist students transition to postsecondary education, including tuition matters. Indeed, the Grand River Post Secondary Education Office (GRPSEO) was specifically designed to assist Six Nations band members with tuition money. This issue lists some useful websites for funding for students to explore. This issue of Pathways helps prospective students navigate their personal journey into their occupational future. It chronicles three, highlyrecognized institutions that assist Aboriginal students in their career path. One of them, Mohawk College, with its “Future Ready” theme, finished first for program quality and service by students and alumni in a recent government survey. The Six Nations Polytechnical Institute and the Ogwehoweh Skills & Trades Training Centre offer provincially accredited programs in the heart of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. As part of their success, these institutions work in partnership with government funding agencies and with surrounding educational institutes and businesses.

We hope that this special publication assists you in navigating your pathway to your future as an Aboriginal person.

PATHWAYS | Fall / Winter 2012


Grand River Post Secondary Education Office empowers Onkwehon:we through higher education GRPSEO By Diane Baltaz Like many First Nations in Canada, Six Nations has a high youth population, with 15.3% aged 15-24 both on and off reserve, compared to the Canadian average of 13.7%. They, as well as mature students, see the value of investing in a post-secondary school education as the path to independence, self sufficiency and serving the community in a meaningful way. But rising tuition costs and their need to self-fund their education may make this goal unattainable. That is why The Grand River Post Secondary Education Office (GRPSEO) advises students to apply for additional funding as soon as they have a plan, and to do so as early as possible. GRPSEO is part of Six Nations’ home-grown solution to promoting further education. This community organization began funding students wanting to earn college diplomas and university degrees in 1992, when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Six Nations Elected Council and Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada (now known as Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada or AANDC) to administer the Post Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP), funding dollars which is distributed to the Six Nations of the Grand River from AANDC. The office, located on the east side of the Six Nations Polytechnic Institute, states in its 2011 annual report that it “exists to empower Onkwehon:we through higher education with available resources.” A press release on the GRPSEO website states that GRPSEO has funded some 1500 students through to graduation between 1998 and June, 2011. Graduates, including mature students, enter a significant diversity of college and university programs and levels of study that take two or more years to achieve.


PATHWAYS | Fall / Winter 2012

But funding is limited, and in recent times, approximately 40% of the 1200 applicants who apply to each deadline will not receive funding. And the gap between funding applications and the amount of money available is growing. “We are in the middle of processing our winter applications and we had close to the 1200 prior to the deadline and now we will exceed that 1200,” said Taina Lickers, Director of Student Services and Counseling. Several factors affect GRPSEO’s inability to support all of the applications they receive, said Lickers. Increasing numbers of applicants is one reason. Lickers said that this will continue to increase as more people self-identify as First Nations under Bill C-3 (the bill to promote gender equity in the Indian Registration Act, which went into effect in January, 2011). Individual tuition costs keep rising; for instance, according to GRPSEO’s 20102011 financial report, law school tuition rose from $5000 per year in 2006 to more than $12,000 in 2011, excluding books and other costs. Also, in spite of community and political advocacy from Six Nations and other North American original peoples, the AANDC has issued no information about the future of the Post Secondary Student Support Program. “Our chief and our council are doing their best but that is still not giving us the answers we need to prepare for the future.” added Lickers. This situation comes at a time when a local study of Six Nations and New Credit commissioned by GRPSEO revealed that the Six Nations unemployment rate was 25.3% in January, 2009, which is higher than the national average. Moreover, average household incomes on Six Nations were 23% below those in the surrounding community of Brant County. The few jobs that exist tend to be minimum wage, and like ODSP, below the poverty line. Lickers’ advice to students is to

pursue every available means of funding that meets their needs, especially scholarships and bursaries for Aboriginal people. And that they should be very pro-active in their need for post-secondary funding in spite of community supports such as GRPSEO. “Our key message to parents and students remains: we don’t have enough money to accommodate every application that comes through the door as we don’t have enough money. It is very important that every student that goes comes through our door with a very clear education plan and stick to it. There are too many students who have to go without and then need to seek alternative sources.” The situation with scholarships and bursaries is more promising, as there are people and organizations who “put the money out”, said Lickers. Many of these sources are targeted for Aboriginal students. “There is a ton of them out there, but not that many students are applying for them.” In fact, GRPSEO has a community scholarship whose funding comes from a community golf tournament, their Annual Norm’s Golf for Grads Tournament and office dress down days. But she said that only one student applied for this year’s scholarship even though the only paperwork applicants had to do was submit a letter stating that they wished to be considered for it. GRPSEO Board policy states that “a portion of the graduates will address the identified needs and strategic directions (areas) of Oswekehonon; Onkwehon:wenne communities and society at large, including needs related to our languages, traditions and cultures.” Thus, the awards program PSSSP funding also funds students applying for priority training identified by the community, such as the Ogwehoweh Language Diploma Program at Six Nations Polytechnic, public administration and health services. Continued on page 6

Grand River Post Secondary Education Office

Tel: 519.445.2219 Toll Free: 1 .877.837.5180 Fax: 519.445.4296 Email:

P.O. Box 339 2160 4th Line Ohsweken, ON N0A 1M0



If you are a Six Nations member and you have met the entrance requirements for and been enrolled in or accepted for enrolment in an eligible post secondary program then you can apply for post secondary education assistance through the Grand River Post Secondary Education Office (GRPSEO).

Every year there isn’t enough funding for all students so all applications are considered according to their priority. The Priority System is designed to provide fair and equitable access to limited post secondary assistance funding. At the same time, the priority system contributes to the management of available funding over a period of years by building in a system whereby education assistance directly contributes to post secondary graduation and access to post secondary education.

WHAT TYPE OF POST SECONDARY EDUCATION ASSISTANCE IS THERE? There is post secondary education assistance for tuition, books, Prior Learning Assessment, tutoring, and full time education allowance. For a description of each type of assistance see the web site or request the Student Policy Guide. From time to time there is assistance in the form of incentives and/or scholarships. These are available through the GRPSEO only when budget allows. In addition to the overall eligibility criteria already presented, there are specific criteria that apply to the different types of post secondary education assistance. These criteria are presented in the description of each type of assistance. Once you are approved for a specific type of education assistance, there are also certain criteria that you must continue to meet to maintain your eligibility. There are also limits of assistance within the different types of assistance.

HOW TO APPLY – GRPSEO encourages on-line applications! You need your 10 digit registry number and social insurance/social security number to apply on line. Go to and click on Application Process, click on Apply on Line Here – then follow the prompts. Be sure to apply before the deadline. All students are instructed to print and submit the Consent Form. Be sure to have your signature witnessed on the consent form. First time applicants and applicants who have not received funding for one academic year are advised to print and submit the Education Plan.

2. YOU CAN PRINT THE APPLICATION AND CONSENT FORMS FROM THE WEBSITE - THEN MAIL OR FAX THE COMPLETED FORMS Complete, sign and submit the application and consent forms with your original signature by the required deadline. Be sure to have your signature witnessed on the consent form. If you are trying to make an application deadline date, fax your completed application and consent then mail them. Faxed documents will be logged on the date received. When your original signed documents are received they will be given the same receipt date. The GRPSEO will not process facsimile or photocopies of forms without an original signature from you.



o gwehó: weh né: Ohswegehó:noh o Onkwehón:we ne: Ohswekenhro:non


May 17 Winter Marks/Progress Reports due for all continuing students. Levels 3 & 4 provide Letter of Good Academic Standing. Application Deadline for Fall/Winter semester(s) Apply on-line! Summer course registration/timetable and detailed tuition fees due. July 1

Official Transcripts due from students with any assistance following the previous July. For fall applicants, funds will be decommitted if the transcript is not received.

Sept 17 Summer Marks/Progress Reports due for all continuing students. Levels 3 & 4 provide Letter of Good Academic Standing. Application deadline for Winter semester - Apply on-line! Fall course registration/timetable and detailed tuition fees due. Jan 17 Fall Marks/Progress Reports due for all continuing students. Levels 3 & 4 provide Letter of Good Academic Standing. Application deadline for Summer semester - Apply on-line! Winter course registration/timetable and detailed tuition fees due.

Returning/continuing successful students including continuing successful self-funded students

Priority 2

New high school graduates

Priority 3

Withdrawals for just cause (emergency cases)

Priority 4(a)

Part time successful students applying for full time assistance

Priority 4(b)

Out of school for two or more consecutive academic semesters

Priority 5

Graduates who change programs but are not changing their level of study.

Priority 6

Students from other countries (for September starts only)

Priority 7

Previously unsuccessful students.


Students approved for funding agree to abide by the rules and guidelines for funding through the GRPSEO. Key expectations include submission of marks by scheduled dates and regular contacts with Education Counsellors.

A QUICK LOOK AT THE GRPSEO IN 2011/2012: • 86 graduates • 772 students received PSSSP funds • 56% of students lived off reserve • 96% of students were enrolled full time • 38% were over the age of 25 • Six Nations post secondary students are • 33% of applications (295 students) could not enrolled at all levels of study: 321 college; be funded due to lack of funds 451 university; 35 graduate degrees; 21 PhD/Dr


2006-07 125

2007-08 131

2008-09 102

2009-10 103

2010-11 73

2011-12 86

For more information see the Annual Report 2010/11 on our website

Complete and submit the two forms with your original signature before the required deadline. Be sure to have your signature witnessed on the consent form.


Priority 1

Please note that a requirement of 12 months residence in Canada prior to the application date applies to priorities 1 to 5. LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE PROCESSED.



The following is an outline of the priority system. For more details contact your Education Counsellor.

REMINDER: The GRPSEO will publish our Annual Graduate Promotion in local and regional newspapers in December 2012. If you will be a 2012 graduate and you wish to participate in this promotion, please submit the Graduate Consent Form along with your final official transcript and a recent photo to our office by October 31, 2012.

OTHER POST SECONDARY DATES AND EVENTS Oct 31, 2012 Deadline to Submit Graduate Photos for Publication Nov 16 Fall Semester Contact required from all students (Check with your Counsellor) Dec Graduate Promotion/Graduate Photo Publication Dec Office Closed: December 24 and Reopens: January 2, 2013 Feb 6, 2013 GRPSEO Application Information Night Feb 18 Office Closed: Participation in Family Day

Mar 15

Winter Semester Contact required from all students (Check with your Counsellor) May 20 Participation in Bread and Cheese Parade June 1 Summer Office Hours: Open from 8 am to 4 pm June 21 Office Closed: Participation in Solidarity Day July 1 Accepting Graduate Photos for Publication July 19 Office Closed: Norm’s Golf for Grads September 1 Back to Regular Office Hours: Open 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Please, check the local newspapers and our website at or give us a call at (519) 445-2219 for more information.


Trade school enrollment on the rise As overseas production operations return to Canada, enrollment in trade schools continues to rise. Despite high levels of unemployment, domestic manufacturing companies are finding it difficult to fill positions, thanks in part to an attitudinal shift over the years wherein young people did not consider manufacturing a respectable or attractive trade. Such attitudes are starting to change, as indicated by the surging enrollment at trade schools. Many colleges of technology are experiencing their highest enrollment in years, with students young and old looking to take advantage of the growing number

of available manufacturing positions. Many manufacturers have bemoaned the lack of qualified machinists to fill positions, and those manufacturers are emphasizing that today's machinists must be computer literate and be skilled in computer-aided design and engineering. That increased demand for skilled workers has driven up their wages. In fact, a 2012 study from Georgetown University's Center for Education and the Workforce noted that 63 percent of workers with associate's degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering or manufacturing earned more money than the average person with a bachelor's

degree in the humanities or social sciences. As trade schools continue to benefit from the return of manufacturing jobs, recent college graduates continue to find a job market that is less than welcoming. Analysis of government data for the Associated Press found that in early 2012 half of recent college graduates were either unemployed or underemployed (working in positions unrelated to their degree). Such a reality has been advantageous to trade schools, which have become an increasingly attractive option for the masses of unemployed men and women. CB12A599

Empowering Onkwehon:we through higher education Continued from page 4 A GRPSEO report entitled, “The Value of Post Secondary Investment” reveal that the resulting economic impact of investment in Six Nations post secondary education exceeds $25 million per year. It also states that for those employed who have completed a post-secondary program, there is a greater percentage of band members – 68.3% -- earning more than $30,000 per annum; another 60% who did not complete high school but had still obtained a college diploma or trade certificate, also earned more than $30,000 annually, as opposed to 50% of high school grads who had no postsecondary certification. In 2010-2011, 793 Six Nations students were enrolled in post secondary programs; the GRPSEO 2010-2011 Annual Report states

estimates that these 793 students contribute more than $6 million dollars in direct investment in the communities where they attend, from staff salaries through tuition fees, rent, groceries, transportation and other factors. “This (enrolment level) has significant implications, not just for Six Nations people but for the broader public both now and in the future,” the report concludes. Applicants’ documents are sorted according to the post-secondary institution requested their priority system, which are then assessed by four education counselors, said Lickers. Then every single application goes to Lickers for final approval, based on the counselors’ advice. But she adds, “I keep approving them until we run out of funding.” While GRPSEO tries to maximize

financial resources available to Six Nations students, the organization developed a funding priority system to be as fair and equitable for distributing available funds. Prospective applicants are asked to apply through the GRPSEO website: said Lickers. She also strongly advises them to have a plan and apply before the deadline dates. Finally, Lickers advises both students and community members alike to keep being proactive about increased funding from the federal government, both at the local and at the community level. “If we pool our voices together and show that we are a united community on this issue, we will make a bigger impact on the decision makers. We can no longer sit and wait for them to tell us what is going to happen next.”

Book your space for the Spring/Summer Edition of Pathways Magazine Published August 14, 2013. Deadline is August 2, 2013 Call Marshall Lank at 519-753-0077, fax 519-756-0011 or email


PATHWAYS | Fall / Winter 2012

Adults returning to school to advance careers What do you do if the economy has stalled your career prospects or left you looking for a new job? Many adults are choosing to go back to school. Thousands of laid-off workers or those who are stuck in careers that may not have been their first choice find that the path to new opportunities runs through a classroom. Spurred by the economic stimulus for adult employment services like training, many adults have traded in their time cards for textbooks. Or they're spending evenings and weekends taking courses after-hours. Community colleges and some vocational schools are finding the recession has been good for enrollment. To attract adult students, they're offering programs that are tailored to individuals seeking new skill sets. Some school marketing teams have sent recruiters into factories and other industrial places to speak to workers at the source. Other schools are expanding or just developing online degree options, which enable adults to take classes on their own time. Online schooling is an attractive alternative because of flexible schedules and no commute times. According to Back to College, an online resource for those interested in going back to school, recent statistics indicate more than 90 percent of traditional institutions provide or plan to provide some kind of program through distance learning. Thousands of students now log on to distancelearning portals instead of sitting in a traditional classroom. Those interested in going back

to school will have some choices to consider and steps to take. * Decide on what you want to study. Some adults are going back to school to further develop their skills in a particular career field. Others are returning to learn entirely new things in preparation for a new job. Have your major clearly

defined so you can immediately get started with schooling. * Choose the college or university. There are schools all over the country and the world. Community colleges are less expensive than private schools, and some offer comparable educations. When going back to school, the

prestige of the learning institution may not be as important the second time around. Many adults look for schools with online courses so they can continue to work. These will be factors in deciding where to go. * Apply for financial aid. Adults returning to school are just as entitled to apply for financial aid as new students right out of high school. Federal funding and grants, as well as private scholarships, may be available to help pay for your education -- especially if you're experiencing financial hardship at the time. * Start out slowly. Do not take too many classes at once if you already have a busy schedule. You want to ensure you'll have time to study and do your homework. Once you can gauge how much time the average class requires of you, you can increase the number of courses accordingly. * Be patient. Although many adults are returning to school, it may be expected that you will be outnumbered in the classroom by younger students. Some adults feel awkward in these situations, while others embrace the opportunity for new experiences and chances to impart their own knowledge on younger classmates. It may take time to find your groove once more. There are several reasons adults are returning to school. The process has become easier now that the economy has made furthering your education almost a necessity. BS127269

PATHWAYS | Fall / Winter 2012


Aboriginal education – with pride! Ogwehoweh Skills & Trade Centre By Diane Baltaz Members of the Six Nations of Grand River Territory who want to return to the work force, or who need to re-tool themselves for the ever-changing job market have an invaluable gift within their reach -- the Ogwehoweh Skills and Trades Training Centre (OSTTC) in Ohsweken. The OSTTC is a not-for-profit community owned business established in 2003 to meet employer needs for skilled workers and resident needs for industry-certified training. Located in the GREAT Opportunity Centre on Sunrise Court, this impressive-looking training centre offers professional, college-grade training in various automotive, construction, horticultural and office-related trades. Other persons enroll in academic upgrading, professional development programs or workshops, such as accounting basics, writing business plans and proposals, driver education, how to purchase a computer, and understanding financial statements. “We have a variety of programs,” says Cathy Smith, Youth and Special Projects Officer. “Another good thing we have is definitely the individualized programming -- the courses are all instructor taught with hands-on learning.” Moreover, adds Smith, “We have shorter waiting times for admission. For example, we do GED (General Educational Diploma, the equivalent to Grade 12) three times a year and welding has a continuous intake. It’s the same for upgrading in math and physics – we have upgrading courses assist students in getting their Grade 12 or to meet requires to enter college programs. Today even a lot of trade unions are not allowing people to apply without taking special math, physics and chemistry courses first.” The Ogwehoweh (Cayuga for “People of Turtle Island”) Skills & Trades Training


PATHWAYS | Fall / Winter 2012

Centre states on its website that it is “committed to empowering individuals through education, trades training and professional development.” To meet the employability of Six Nations residents in the labour market, the centre constantly modifies and develops new courses as required. The teaching atmosphere is informal and personal, in spite of its important mandate to increase the employability of Six Nations people to match labour market demands. Class size is kept small, usually around 12 people per instructor to maximize the education process. The building itself radiates the same relaxed feeling, with a large, luxurious foyer full of tropical plants for students to hang out or eat lunch. “Putting you first! Our commitment is to keep your needs a priority!” reads the first line of the OSTTC mission statement; it ends with, “Aboriginal education – with pride!” Vocational programs range from automotive service training, gas technician, pre-apprenticeship electrical, pre-apprenticeship technical service agent to welding training. Thus, the centre has updated computer labs and specialized welding, construction and automotive bays for students to gain job-ready experience. These accredited training programs are comparable to similar ones at community colleges elsewhere in Ontario. But there is no need to leave the community --- and its location in the heart of town gives local students a chance to quickly slip out at lunch to check something at home or to do quick errands. Also persons of all backgrounds from outside the community register for programs. New and expanded programs evolve to accommodate changing job trends, says Smith. “ We do a lot of labour market research to see what is up and coming the needs of the community and the employers; for example, if there is a shortage in solar and wind power --that

is starting to boom. That is how we got a renewable energy course, with another cohort starting in April 2013. And Level I electrical starting again. We will be providing more welding as we are putting in a larger welding bay.” Sometimes the OSTTC runs special programs geared specifically for women. One that is currently happening is a nine-month long pre-apprenticeship technical service or agent. Funded directly by the Ontario Women’s Directorate, tuition in this case was covered by the government, although students must cover their own text book and transportation costs. This special program started last May, and ends in March after a threemonth work experience placement. Besides providing direct training in computer and operating systems and information technology (IT) skills such as Microsoft Office, the program provides workplace and job-hunting skills that helps participants to find and keep their new job upon graduation; this involves workplace readiness training, essential skills such as first aid WHMS training and certification, communication and analytical skills. Time is spent on resume writing and preparing for interviews – including mock interviews with classmates. Technical service graduates either directly enter employment at area contact centres, or they are qualified to work in any office environment that requires computer experience. Cathy Smith the centre’s youth and special projects officer, said in an interview prior to the program’s commencement that, “Graduates will be so familiarized with Microsoft that they will be able to walk their workmates through a problem they are having, even when they are out of the office, through a cell phone.” “We have an excellent training facility,” said Smith, who is in her eighth year at OSTTC. “We’ve plenty of space for study areas and computer labs for study programs. It is more the personal touch.”

Outstanding learning opportunities available in a variety of courses, open to all




Skills and Trades Training Centre

 Auto  Welding  Renewable  Electrical  Information Technology

 GED  Academic Upgrading  Computer Training  Driver’s Education  Customer Service  Horticulture

 Business Plan Development  Small Business Management  Work Ethics  General Interest

16 Sunrise Court, Ohsweken, ON | (519)445-1515 | 866-827-5912

A native perspective at Polytechnic Institute By Diane Baltaz Located within a rural setting in Six Nations Territory, Six Nations Polytechnic Institute teaches accredited university, college, professional development and continuing education programs that include a native perspective. Learners gain knowledge and employable skills while learning about Haudenosaunee traditions, culture and language. This “Two Paths” education model is growing with new programs, often through collaboration with other colleges and universities within Southwestern Ontario. Polytech’s Iroquoian language and cultural programming and its working relationship with more mainstream post-secondary institutions exhibits the campus’s distinct “Two Paths” education model. This mandate provides a practical means of living out the Six Nations’ Two Row Wampum — the treaty of friendship, mutual respect and understanding between the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) and nonnative peoples. The institute’s one-page philosophy statement, written by Harvey Longboat Senior, explains it this way: “Six Nation Polytechnic will take a lead role in bridging the chasm of understanding between the two cultures of our lives and create an atmosphere for healing our differences so that we can both look with optimism into the 21st century… Six Nations Polytechnic is becoming the catalyst that offers the opportunity and place for our Native scholars and elders to share their knowledge with all our people and to offer the non-Native an opportunity to study a different world view.” Thus, Six Nations Polytechnic Institute’s vision of “excellence in creating culturally appropriate learning experiences for students” attracts nonnative students who want an aboriginal perspective in addition to First Nations residents who want to pursue postsecondary education within Six Nations Territory. Student success officer Michelle Thomas spoke of the popular Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) for Aboriginal Communities program,


PATHWAYS | Fall / Winter 2012

which frequently has a 50-50 split in aboriginal and non-native backgrounds. “The RPN program in partnership with Mohawk College is a big draw for people from all different racial backgrounds,” said Thomas. “With that program you are looking at people who want to take training and they may want to go to different places -- for example, up north (where there are more reserves) – so they want to study those particular health concerns and issues. As long as you meet the requirements, anyone can enter the program.” One new development in collaboration with McMaster provides registered practical nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). As with other campus programs and workshops, community need and demands in the local labour market got the BSN program off the ground. “There was an interest by some registered practical nurses to take a degree in nursing,” explained program director Dawn Bomberry. The Native University Program (NUP) is a proven pathway to success in university. Students can take a full first year at SNP then continue studies at one of the six universities in partnership with SNP. Students who began their university studies have gone on to graduate from law, medicine, teaching, nursing, social work and many other areas of study. Also under planning are several university degree programs that are being advertised in the 2012-13 calendar. In response to student interest SNP will continue to offer courses creditable toward a Bachelor of Social Work in partnership with McMaster University. SNP is seeking a partner to offer a complete Bachelor of Social Work. The current Ogwehoweh language programming is expanding to include a language degree program pending accreditation expected in 2014. The calendar states that interested students should apply for enrollment. New programs listed in the 2012-13 year calendar include a two-year police foundations diploma that is offered in conjunction with Niagara College. (“Policing, one of the most physically

and mentally demanding professions, is in the midst of unprecedented hiring,” states the calendar’s program description.) Others pursue a college diploma in office administration or in early childhood education. With this diversity, what should students consider if they are interested in studying at Six Nations Polytechnic Institute? “The first thing I would do with a student is to ask them their career goals in terms of employment, to see if they have a clear direction,” said Thomas. “Sometimes students don’t have a general direction and they need that beginning step. Once they have a plan, they can see what option and choice they want to make. Choices and options always empower people no matter who it is and then they have the power to make those decisions.” Thomas suspects that the campus’s small size – some classes may only have 10 students – helps in students’ choice of campus. She finds that some students are “shy” in terms of coming to her office for assistance: “I think that in a regular post-secondary institution, they may be more hesitant to go to career services and the registrar’s office to say they need help. But in a smaller setting like this it is much easier to access a student. We have small classes, so I can go into these classes and ask the instructor if I can talk to the student for five minutes regarding what is going on; or to tell them about access to a bursary. Then when a student comes, I can present them with the information.” Six Nations members founded the institute in 1993, during the five-year long Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, after events such as the Oka Crisis raised Canadian awareness that many aboriginal issues needed addressing. The Ontario government responded by developing strategies for aboriginal employment and training both within colleges and universities and within aboriginal communities themselves. The institute is the home of the Indigenous Knowledge Centre as well as an archives of traditional Haudenosaunee language and culture.

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How to find the right internship Recent college grads have found the job market to be somewhat underwhelming. Gaining the attention of a prospective employer is never easy, and it’s even less so when the economy is struggling. One of the ways current students or even recent graduates can make themselves more attractive to prospective employers is to find the right internship. Internships are not always easy to get, and many of them don’t pay. But students who find the right internship often look back and recognize that their internship was their first step toward a rewarding career, and a step that provided valuable insight into their chosen field. To find the right internship, consider the following tips. * Work with your school. Whether you’re in college or you’re that rare high schooler looking for an internship, lean on your school for direction and advice. Colleges and universities have career centers that can help you gain an internship. They can assist you through access to job listings and by providing advice on crafting resumes and cover letters or tips on how to interview. In addition to your school’s career center, speak to professors in your desired field and seek their advice. Many professors likely have experience in the field outside of the classroom and might even still work in the field, be it full-time or as


PATHWAYS | Fall / Winter 2012

a consultant. These professors can point you toward job opportunities or give you advice on what prospective employers are looking for from an intern. * Start early. It’s never too early to start looking for an internship. In fact, many companies hope to have their internship positions filled well in advance. For example, if you’re looking for a summer internship, begin your search no later than January and

continue that search throughout the semester. In addition to starting early, don’t just seek summer internships. Some companies make internship opportunities available year-round, so you might be able to get one that coincides with the school year, even if you had a previous internship with a different company during the year. Internship experience is invaluable, and the more of it you can gain the more attractive you are likely to be to potential employers after graduation. * Do your homework. Chances are

you’re working toward a degree in a specific field. Research the leading companies within that field and learn about their internship programs. Visit each company’s Web site and peruse their job listings. This is more direct and takes less time than searching for internship opportunities on the large job listing Web sites. Such sites might have internship listings, but searching through them can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. * Do some networking. You might not have an expansive network of associates to tap into, but that does not mean you should go it alone. Talk to your parents to see if they or someone they know has heard about any internship opportunities in your chosen field. You might also be able to network via your school’s career center, which likely has an alumninetworking service that enables you to contact past graduates currently working in your chosen field. In some instances, these alumni-networking services can be an internship gold mine, as past graduates might prefer to hire current students from their alma mater as opposed to applicants from other schools. Competition for internships is often steep, and that’s especially so when the economy is struggling and even recent graduates are hoping to land internships. But students can employ several strategies to find the right internships and take their first steps toward rewarding careers. BS127275

How to connect with a recruiter Being prepared for an interview, including a telephone interview, is one way job seekers can help themselves stand out among a crowded pool of applicants. Finding a job when the economy is struggling is not easy. An overcrowded pool of applicants coupled with fewer jobs can make a job seeker feel like a proverbial needle in a haystack. When men and women apply for a position, the first person to see their resumes is typically a human resources employee, a company's in-house recruiter or even a recruiting service hired by a company to help it fill the position. This person is responsible for sifting through the many applicants and narrowing those down to a manageable number of people whom the recruiter will then interview, or recommend for an interview. (Be it over the phone or in the company's office.) That said, grabbing the attention of a recruiter could make or break a person's chance of landing a job. The following are a few ways individuals can help themselves gain the attention of a recruiter and increase their chances of being called for an interview. * Recognize the importance of an effective C.V. A curriculum vitae, or C.V., is incredibly important. The C.V. is an overview of your experience and any additional qualifications. Longer and more extensive than a

resume, the C.V. is the first thing many prospective employers will examine. It should include a detailed summary of your background and experience, including professional associations and licenses, awards and any other information relevant to the position to which you're applying. Include your name and contact information as well as any specific skills you have that make you a strong candidate for the position. Organize the C.V. by dates and don't be afraid to go into too much detail, especially if those details are relevant to the job for which you're applying. * Tailor your C.V. to each specific position. Avoid using a generic or non-specific C.V. This won't make you stick out among the competition and the recruiter is likely to pass you over for consideration. Tailor the C.V. to each position for which you're applying, clearly illustrating how your past experience makes you a strong candidate for the position. * Always be prepared. If the recruiter deems you worthy of an interview, that interview could come at any time. A phone call from the recruiter could be a screening interview, so once you apply for a position, be prepared to interview

at any time. Research the prospective employer and anticipate some of the questions he or she might ask you when responding to your application. Practice answering these questions so you can make a strong first impression. * Recognize the other ways you can make an impression. A strong C.V. and an effective resume can make a great first impression, but today's recruiters will also utilize social networking to determine your worthiness as a candidate. Applicants can help or hurt their chances with recruiters depending on how they approach social networking. Speaking ill of past employers via social networking sites is a significant red flag, as is posting comments or photos pertaining to any questionable behavior. Avoid using expletives on social networking sites as well. But social networking can be used to make a solid first impression. Use sites to grab recruiters' attention in positive ways, such as referencing work done in the community or your involvement with professional organizations. This can complement a C.V. and resume and increase your chances of landing an interview. CB12A541

PATHWAYS | Fall / Winter 2012


Getting funding By Diane Baltaz Going to college or university provides better employment security, job fulfillment and prosperity for a student. But tuition costs have steadily increased over recent decades, sometimes at levels above the cost of inflation. In the case of Aboriginals, many bands have a youthful population aged 15-24 that is higher than the Canadian population. At the same time, the families of aboriginal students have incomes below the level of those of non-native Canadians. This means that students often depend on additional funding beyond that of their personal savings. Or they are forced to take on employment in local service industries, perpetuating their marginalized economic reality. Whether you are graduating directly from high school, or you are a mature or graduate student, there are financial options worth exploring. Different governmental, private and non-profit organizations offer financial assistance for post-secondary students, some of which are reserved exclusively for North American original peoples. These come as loans, grants, bursaries and scholarships. Much of this information can be found on the internet. In Ontario, the best-known one is OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program) offered by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. It offers a range of loans and grants, based on financial need, all of which can be considered concurrently simply by filling out one application form. This includes a special, 30% Off Ontario Tuition Program -- funding that one does not have to repay -- for students entering a college or university directly from high school or within four years of graduation. With more than 300,000 applicants and recipients per year, the government launched the OSAP Express – a new streamlining process


PATHWAYS | Fall / Winter 2012

that cuts red tape for full time students seeking post-secondary financial assistance. Also, the government increased the maximum limit for student loans and provides more flexible, income-sensitive repayment assistance. The OSAP website lists the programs in detail, and includes an “aid estimator” to help prospective students determine how much assistance they need. The web portal is: www.osap. Most post-secondary institutions offer bursaries and scholarships for prospective students. Some are based on need while others are meant for students enrolled in specific programs at the campus. Check with the aboriginal student advisor or student success officer of your desired campus for this information. People who have been laid off or restructured out of a job within the past five years should check with their nearest employment centre for Second Career retraining. This provincial government program provides fulltime skills training in high-demand areas for laid off workers at community colleges within Ontario. The program works on a cost-sharing basis based on a person’s need. The funding will only cover programs lasting no longer than two years, and is meant to cover costs of tuition, books, transportation and a basic living allowance. Most Ontario Community college websites have links explaining which programs are covered by Second Career. Several websites will guide you to specific funding programs for postsecondary students of Aboriginal, Metis or Inuit background. One of these is the Foundation for the Advancement of Aboriginal Youth, by the Canadian Aboriginal Business Council. In addition to demonstrated need, the foundation also considers applicants’ contributions to family, their community, and their proven leadership roles and ability to

be positive role models for other youth. An Alberta-based group, the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society (AMMSA) and their national news magazine Windspeaker, promotes Aboriginal education and scholarship for students in Canada and the USA. AMMSA has an extensive online guide to Aboriginal bursaries and scholarships with links to First Nations grant organizations ranging from Indspire – the largest, non-governmental Aboriginal student grant organization in Canada -- to various provincial and American scholarships and bursaries. The guide can be found at: www. scholarships. In Ontario, the Aboriginal Financial Officers’ Association of Ontario lists many scholarships for specific programs and campuses. Some of these are sponsored by Native bands and Canadian corporations. Website: www. Some native communities have special offices to deal with student applications. At Six Nations, the Grand River Post Secondary Education Office (GRPSEO) works through community partnerships with Grand River Employment and Training (GREAT), Six Nations Economic Development and others. Finally, check these other sites for general information on scholarships: • -Scholarship Canada • -- Canadian government scholarships • -- Association of Universities and Colleges, Canada • -- School Finder • -- Student Awards Virtually all of these granting authorities share one major tip -- apply as early as possible. The competition for most scholarship and bursary programs exceed the total amount of funding. Don’t be disappointed.

The Road to Technical Excellence Often the road to excellence either begins or ends in a place we hadn’t previously considered. To innovate, for example, the road may start with a simple idea that no one had thought of before, but turns into a path that everyone clusters to. Or, it may start on a well trodden path that could easily be taken for granted, but ends up becoming the path they can’t seem to live without today. The key seems to lie in one’s ability and vision to recognize and cultivate the greatness others failed to notice. Six Nations has been such a place, serving as a hub that has been a cornerstone in the plan of many great individuals, both native and non-native. Many people, including a great Canadian Stanley Cup winner; Brantford’s greatest inventor; winning battle leaders from the War of 1812 and World War II; and award winning musicians and notable experts in the field of communications, electronics, medicine, and politics can cite Six Nations as a contributing factor

toward their path to greatness. Kings/Brant Hwy 54 is Brantford’s well traveled link to Caledonia. This road follows the path of the Grand River which was the central link to many communities which are thriving cites today. Garden Avenue exit off the 403 becomes Hwy. 18 in Cainsville, where Hwy 54 begins and within 10 kilometers along Hwy 54 you should arrive at iC SuperCOMPUTERS in Six Nations, the only Mac store in a log cabin. It's a place where many pathways start. iC SuperCOMPUTERS has been in business for over 18 years. Along the way, it has served as a central hub connecting people, companies and corporations. iC SuperCOMPUTERS is the place to network, obtain service, learn and purchase the world’s most desired computer systems and tablets. The products offered at iC SuperCOMPUTERS now include many award winning innovations in technology and communications, developed by the greatest minds of the modern digital

world. And the word is getting out. Today, many people now see the value of iC SuperCOMPUTERS and what iC began to offer 18 years ago. Over the years iC SuperCOMPUTERS helped individuals, families, businesses and corporations switch to Apple. With trained sales staff, Apple Specialists and Certified Technicians, iC has become a recognized leader in providing warranty service, user training, business consultation and sales of state-of-the-art technologies, including the world’s best computers and, of course, the innovative tablet that pleasantly surprised and changed the world. As with history, many pathways to success begin here "Along the Grand”. Visit iC SuperCOMPUTERS to embark on your journey into the future today. NOTE: Don’t expect your GPS or Google Maps to find this rare gem. Instead, Google: “The Only Mac in a Log Cabin” for proper GPS info, Maps & Directions.

Financial benefits By Diane Baltaz As late as the 1970s, 12 years of schooling and a desire to work guaranteed good, steady, jobs, often with on-the-job training -- and years of financial security. But Ontario’s transformation from a manufacturing economy to today’s knowledge-intensive service industry and high-technology manufacturing economy has changed that. Employers often demand highly-skilled, jobready employees who can adapt to their changing needs. This means that high school students should expect to pursue higher education in order to ensure higher earnings and less risks of unemployment after graduating. Figures from Statistics Canada confirm that Canadians in 2001 with postsecondary education generally have greater earnings, higher savings and assets and thus higher income during retirement than those with only a high school diploma or less. Also, in 2001,

more than 40% of Canadians had postsecondary school qualifications. At the same time, the number of high school drop outs across Canada dropped from 48% in 1981 to only 31% in 2001. The statistical difference in earning potential for those graduated from high school and beyond strongly reveals a financial incentive to get as much schooling as possible: those who had a secondary school diploma earned $7,200 more than high school drop outs. This figure increases to $7,200 for trade school and college grads, and $23,000 or more for university graduates. Statistics show that 2001, one’s earnings increase in proportion to the amount of post-secondary education received, with earnings peaking between the ages of 50 to 54. In 2000, the growth in average earnings of people in all provinces aged 25 to 54 were as follows: • 49% with a high school diploma • 53% with a college diploma • Nearly 100% with a university degree.

This means that one gets a higher return on their investment in an education by the time they retire. Those seniors who had less education were thus more reliant upon Old Age Security Benefits as their primary source of income. Seniors with higher levels of education relied more on private pensions and previous investments. The chances of being unemployed lessen with higher education. A Statistics Canada Labour Force Historical Review indicates that high school graduates had a 6.5% unemployment rate -- close to half of the risk of being unemployed as contrasted to those who had no secondary school diploma whose unemployment rate was 12.2% in 2006. In comparison, the unemployment risks for trade and college graduates and university graduates were 5.1% and 4% respectively. To learn more about the link between learning and financial security, see the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada website: PATHWAYS | Fall / Winter 2012


Teka Pathways Fall Winter 2012  

aboriginal education, native education, six nations, ohsweken, college, university, trades schools, first nation education, brochure

Teka Pathways Fall Winter 2012  

aboriginal education, native education, six nations, ohsweken, college, university, trades schools, first nation education, brochure