Happy February CEWIL Colleagues,
This month, as a country, we celebrate Black History month and the theme this year is The Future is Now, which is the opportunity to acknowledge the transformative work that Black Canadians and their communities are doing across Canada. I would like to acknowledge the Black Canadians in the CEWIL community that provide leadership and day to day support for the students and partners in their communities to make a difference in the lives of learners across our country. I would also like to bring attention to the work being done by the Onyx Initiative which aims to “be a catalyst for the professional growth and development of Black Canadians as they launch their careers after university/college, helping them through access to placements, mentorships, coaching and professional development.” The work that the Onyx Initiative is doing directly relates to the work we do at CEWIL; if you are interested in learning more about the initiative, please visit their website at https://onyxinitiative.org/. CEWIL continues to commit to our call to action on equity, diversity, and inclusion and the change we need to see in the WIL systems and programs.
This month, we welcomed Charlene Marion, our Director, WIL to CEWIL! Charlene comes to us from Bishop’s University, where she has developed a strong background in WIL through her roles in leading experiential education there. Charlene has hit the ground running to operationalize the iHub project, which has seemed like moving mountains in a truly short time! Thank you to the CEWIL community for the intense response to our first calls for proposals! The iHub is a project funded in part by the Federal Government and you can learn more about it by visiting our website. We have a dedicated team of adjudicators that are working behind the scenes to get back to all applicants shortly. Please stay tuned for more news and updates, including a second call for proposals to support innovative WIL in the coming semesters. A quick reminder that CEWIL is hiring! Click on the link to learn more!
CEWIL committees continue to impress with the immense amount of engaging work they are doing: the Research Committee has opened the call for Research Grants; the Communications Committee has distributed the toolkit for National Co-op and WIL month with the theme of Innovative WIL being at the core, and a first ever, National Day of Work-Integrated Learning; the International Committee is reviewing their mandate; Government and External Relations continue to advocate on behalf of the WIL community through pre-budget submissions, as well as working with our SWPP partners to ensure our community is aware of the most up-to-date information; the Accreditation Council has finished their work on Entrepreneurial co-op and has updated their statement on flexibility on accreditation as it pertains to the pandemic (see website); and the QI Council continues to support the expansion of all types of WIL with tools and guides that will be available shortly. We have CEWIL members who are working on a practitioner's certificate, as well as community and employer tools. Our Membership Committee continues to look at ways to engage members, including welcoming new employer and community partner members to our organization. We have a working group discussing rank and match and how it pertains to the new realities of the labour market. The PD Committee continues to carry an immense load delivering quality career development opportunities and is also working with the 2022 Conference Committee to deliver programming that was disrupted by the pandemic. Lastly, the Student of the Year Committee is working on the exceedingly difficult job of selecting the award-winning students to showcase the talent from our community. All of this, and not to mention the work that is being done by the Board and other volunteers to ensure sustainability and vision of CEWIL to lead WIL in Canada. Thank you to the CEWIL community for all the work you do to ensure the success of our organization and, in turn, the WIL community as a whole.
It has been almost one year that we very quickly came together as a community to support WIL under a global pandemic. My hope for all of us is that we reflect on what we have learned, what we have experienced as individuals and as a community, to make our work, our lives, and the future of our community and those we serve, a better place. As we work towards building a new way of life after the pandemic, may we all take a moment to pause and think of the lives that have been lost. And intentionally build towards a future for those that we do our work for, both in our professional and personal lives. It has been a difficult year and it has been my pleasure to work alongside you during it. I genuinely believe we have the ability to learn, grow and build from the experiences we have been through. It is at the core of what we do and what we believe in.
I look forward to celebrating CEWIL’s Co-op and WIL Month with you in March! Stay warm and safe.
Interim CEO, CEWIL Canada