Thanks to the generosity of The Cowan Foundation, in the form of a $100,000 grant, Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning has been able to create a Chair in Workforce Development.
Workforce Development is a new and exciting area of Career and Academic Access that focuses on developing new programs for clients, and creating partnerships with local organizations and employers.
The new workforce development position will focus on two main areas: (1) research and development designed to support Conestoga's efforts to increase programs and services to help retrain individuals disadvantaged by circumstances such as unemployment, poverty or domestic violence; and (2) working with community agencies and government representatives to develop programs aligned with industry needs and governmental priorities.
"Cowan is pleased to support the establishment of the Chair in Workforce Development, to develop and implement the necessary programs to address not only a critical economic issue in our communities today - but also workforce needs as our economy transforms," says Maureen Cowan, President of The Cowan Foundation.
Conestoga President John Tibbits adds, "Our future prosperity depends on aiding individuals to become productive in the workforce, whether as first-time participants or as experienced workers making necessary transitions. Conestoga believes this is an essential part of our mandate. The Conestoga Career Centre and this Chair in Workforce Development are two key initiatives in helping us move forward in service to the community."
The types of activities and programs that will flow from this initiative could include opportunities at Conestoga, in the workplace or in the community to serve apprentices, unemployed workers, newcomers to Canada, aboriginal Canadians and first-generation post-secondary students.
Last month, the first Chair in Workforce Development began work at Conestoga.
Thanh-Thanh Tieu comes to Conestoga from her previous position as a research associate with the Centre of Excellence in Youth Engagement in Toronto. This centre focuses on strategies and programs involving disengaged youth who have the opportunity to benefit meaningfully from initiatives associated with health promotion, social skills development and community awareness. She holds a doctorate from Wilfrid Laurier University, in social-developmental psychology. She also worked as a post-doctoral research associate at Laurier, managing the T2U (Transition to University) Intervention Project, a multi-university research initiative funded through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada's federal funding agency for university-based research and student training in the humanities and social sciences.
Thanh-Thanh Tieu is based at the Conestoga Career Centre at the Doon campus in Kitchener.
The Cowan Foundation is a valued partner of Conestoga. Its prior donations include a 2008 commitment of $200,000 that has been used to support the creation of the Conestoga Career Centre, including renovation and construction, equipment and supplies, and staffing enhancements.
Established in 1995, The Cowan Foundation is able to provide support in the communities where Cowan employees and clients live and work because of the ongoing success of Cowan Insurance Group and the Frank Cowan Company.
Thanh-Thanh Tieu, Conestoga College, 519-748-5220, ext. 2483 or Andrea Leis, ext. 3672
Lynne Short, Cowan Insurance Group, 519-650-6363 ext. 31608