Hydro One wins Colleges Ontario Award

(TORONTO, Dec. 11, 2008) – Hydro One, which has invested $3 million to help Ontario colleges produce greater numbers of Engineering Technology graduates, has won a provincial award honouring its commitment to education and training.

Hydro One is one of seven winners of this year’s Colleges Ontario Awards, which recognize significant achievements in advancing college education in Ontario.

“This province and its industries are facing an enormous shortage of workers as baby boomers retire over the next few decades," said Rosemary Knechtel, vice-president of academic at Mohawk College, which nominated Hydro One for the award. "Hydro One has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to be proactive, to the benefit of our colleges, our students and our society."

Hydro One is facing the retirement of 30 per cent of its workforce within five years. To help produce greater numbers of highly skilled people to fill those positions, Hydro One collaborated with four colleges – Algonquin, Georgian, Mohawk and Northern – on a strategy to create more education and training opportunities.

Hydro One is investing $3 million in scholarships and bursaries, curriculum development and equipment for students in two- and three-year Engineering Technology programs.

“This is an important partnership that provides real opportunities for students,” Knechtel said. “We are pleased to see Hydro One being honoured with this award.”

The Colleges Ontario Awards were established in 2000 to recognize individuals, organizations and volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of Ontario’s college system. The awards are presented in categories such as student leadership, student innovation, distinguished service and more.

"The awards recognize passionate and innovative leaders,” said Linda Franklin, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "The winners are people who are helping colleges to deliver the best education and training possible.”

The award winners are:

    Norm Fenton, a professor at Durham College, who established online learning for apprentices at the college’s Whitby campus
      Jennifer Howarth, president of the Students’ Administrative Council at Cambrian College, whose extensive volunteer activities included a campaign to promote a respectful learning environment at the college
        Martin Smith and the Niagara Environmental Corps, of Niagara College, for their work helping students to address environmental challenges
          The student mentors in the Learning Disability Summer Transition and Orientation Program at Canadore College, for their efforts helping students with learning disabilities make the transition to college life
            Hydro One, which has invested $3 million to promote Engineering Technology programs at four Ontario colleges
            The College Mathematics Project at Seneca College, for its work addressing the achievement rates in first-year college mathematics programs
            Garry Cubitt, the chief administrative officer for Durham Region, who has won the William G. Davis Community Volunteer Award for his efforts promoting college-university partnerships.

          The awards will be presented Feb. 23 in Toronto at a luncheon ceremony at the Colleges Ontario 2009 Conference.


          For more information:

          Heather Howe
          Special Events and Public Relations Coordinator
          (416) 596-0744, ext. 249
          howe@collegesontario.org


          Backgrounder
          2009 Colleges Ontario Awards

          The following is the list of this year’s award winners:

          William G. Davis Community Volunteer - Garry Cubitt, Durham College
          Garry Cubitt, the chief administrative officer for Durham Region and a member of Durham College’s Board of Governors, has a 35-year association with the college. He has played a leading role in the development of partnerships that make it easier for students to transfer between colleges and universities. He also played a part in arrangements that have allowed York and Trent universities to offer classes at Durham.

          Distinguished Service - Norm Fenton, Durham College
          A professor at Durham College, Norm Fenton has spent almost three decades training apprentices in the industrial mechanical millwright program. He was instrumental in establishing online learning at the college's Whitby campus, which has allowed apprentices in Ontario's remote northern communities to receive practical training.

          Community/Corporate Partnership - Hydro One
          Hydro One worked collaboratively with Algonquin, Georgian, Mohawk and Northern colleges on a strategy to produce greater numbers of Engineering Technology graduates. Hydro One is investing $3 million in scholarships and bursaries, curriculum development and equipment for students.

          Collaborative Educators - College Mathematics Project, Seneca College
          Seneca College initiated the College Mathematics Project in 2004-05 to address low success rates in first-year college mathematics. The project determined many students were struggling because they hadn’t studied the appropriate courses in high school. The project has provided feedback to high schools and school boards to help them in their work with students.

          Student Leadership - Jennifer Howarth, Cambrian College
          As president of Cambrian's Students' Administrative Council, Howarth is very active in her college. She has volunteered as a residence don, is now in her second term as Students' Administrative Council president, and is the current president of the provincial advocacy organization, the College Student Alliance. She also works with the Cambrian Student Food Bank, the United Way, and blood donor clinics.

          Student Innovation - Student Mentors in the Learning Disability Summer Transition and Orientation Program, Canadore College
          Student mentors in the Learning Disability Summer Transition and Orientation program help students with learning disabilities make the transition to college life. Since the inception of the program, the retention rate of students with learning disabilities has been at 86 per cent, and there have been improvements in their grades and graduation rates.

          Innovation - Martin Smith and the Niagara Environmental Corps, Niagara College
          Martin Smith, the environmental technician coordinator at Niagara College, created the Niagara Environmental Corps. (NEC) in 2006 to improve environmental awareness at the college. The NEC’s goal is to help students proactively solve environmental issues and build healthy communities.
          - 30 -