If businesses want to shape the talent of the future, they should take a more active role in helping students find cost-effective educational solutions that meet their emerging industry needs.

Alongside engaging with schools to assist educational institutions, including K-12 schools, here are some solutions that can help reduce the skills gaps in the 21st century.

1. Stop requiring a degree for positions that don’t use it.

According to a report backed by Harvard Business School, hiring middle-skills managers with a bachelors degree is more costly due to lack of employee loyalty, as it leads to less productivity and higher turnover rates.

Hiring middle-level managers without a degree cuts costs and improves production. Furthermore, with unemployment rates at record lows, it's going to be even more difficult to fill middle-skills positions if the current practice of requiring a degree does not change.


Students need to be exposed to various career pathways, including apprenticeships, certificates, and two-year degree programs that better align with their career aspirations and workforce needs. Companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook are focusing more on whether a candidate has hard skills than if a candidate has a degree.

2. Offer students experiences.

There are several types of workforce-related educational experiences business can employ, including job shadowing, networking events, mentorship programs, skills competitions, apprenticeships and tradeshows. Offering students opportunities to learn about organizations is not only good for the student, but it's good for the brand.

Learning opportunities need to be designed to be interactive, engaging and business-led. Employers find that by helping students, they also help morale and innovation within the company. Students who are inexperienced will ask the right kinds of questions to open up new dialogue for discovery and reflection.

There are businesses groups, particularly in STEM disciplines, that are on the cutting edge of student engagement. For instance, the Da Vinci Science Center’s WISE initiative offers a program for high school girls to interact with women in the sciences at a networking dinner. This is a great example of how businesses can engage in enhancing education.

Students love to be challenged and to have the opportunity to compete. Harrisburg University sponsored a "hackathon" where students were asked to build a mobile application using the Open Data PA portal. The participants benefited by having the opportunity to network with business professionals while having fun.

While some of these students will share their products with the businesses that inspired them, others may decide to strike out on their own, and that's good for society too.

According to research conducted by Lawrence Katz of Harvard University and Alan Krueger at Princeton University, most of the jobs created between 2005 to 2015 were for positions outside the traditional nine-to-five. We should educate students about this type of "alternative work," and incorporate entrepreneurship into the student experience in order for them to comprehensively understand the future of work.

3. Sponsor a specific program.

Though some are nonprofit, colleges work like any other business: They focus on promoting their brand. Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily mean they encourage students to enroll in the majors that match highest industry demand. Colleges push undecided students into the majors that have the most available seats, so they are retained by the institution. You would never hear an advisor in a college career office telling an undecided student, “You should go into nursing.” Advisors encourage undecided students to go into programs such as business or psychology because these programs, in most cases, can hold unlimited capacity.

While this solution is best for a school’s bottom line, it is not necessarily best for the student who is strapped with enormous tuition debt and an unsatisfying career when they are mismatched.

When donating to universities, it's best that businesses donate to a specific program that would most benefit them in the long run.

4. Support K-12 school teachers. 

Teachers need more opportunities to interact with business professionals. Research shows that telling a story is the best way to teach, and these teachers will be full of stories that inspire youth about the world of tomorrow.

Businesses could pay K-12 teachers to be trained in business operations that they want their new employees to learn during the summer. In the classroom, teachers will be talking about their real experiences with actual businesses that operate in the community.

As the teacher learns, it will also enhance the quality of students coming out of our K-12 institutions.

Businesses engaging with teachers would be the simplest way to educate our future workforce and to create an effective workforce pipeline.

5. Engage with politicians about changing the game.

Policies are changing regarding credentialing and certification in the U.S. government. Tuition costs continue to rise and education programs fail to train students with the requisite skills required by businesses, leading businesses to agree that educational systems and workforce development programs in America need reform. In June 2017, President Trump signed an executive order to expand apprenticeships and reduce apprenticeship regulation.

While many educators disagree with this order and other measures like it, the changes are necessary. The Higher Education Act (HEA) was written in 1965 when the population looked very different from today, and it hasn’t been re-written in over a decade.

Accountability means helping students financially based on student outcomes — not just graduation, but gainful employment. It is up to businesses to help create new education-workforce-focused policies, through organizations like America Succeeds or 50 Can. Businesses need to be more engaged in helping students learn about careers before they spend money on tuition for a program with no future earning potential. Organizations like these help businesses have a political voice to help policy development.

To effectively lessen the skills gap for the 21st century, focus on today's students.

AuthorLorenzo Somma

This Fall IEC Hamilton and Mohawk College have been running a new pilot Coding Bootcamp program for 30 adults. Over 12-weeks the participants learn HTML/CSS/JavaScript, the goal is to create opportunities for individuals that may not typically have access to knowledge economy jobs. These types of Coding Bootcamp programs have been popular with private sector for-profit educational organizations, but this is the first of its kind to my knowledge that is non-profit run and targeting this demographic.

Preliminary results have been fantastic, adults who didn’t know about text editors 5 weeks ago are now creating fairly complicated web front-ends! Each Wednesday participants hear “community talks” representing different career and educational pathways (e.g college vs. university, UX, social media manager, etc.). For example, here’s Suzanne Zandbergen at The Generator with some of the students in the program!

IEC Hamilton is applying for another Future Fund grant (due tomorrow) from the City of Hamilton to continue the program. If you would be willing to sign-up here today to say “yes, I’m interested in giving a talk at next year’s Coding Bootcamp”, we would be very grateful! It’d be an excellent show of interest/support, next year we’d reach out to make sure it works out for everyone scheduling-wise!

Thank you so much! Previous “calls to action” I’ve blasted out like this have resulted in *major* support, and we have reason to believe that support from the Hamilton tech community has made a critical difference in obtaining these grants. We really appreciate it, and will be organizing an event I’ll be sending details about in the near future to explain how companies can get involved in these exciting and growing “learn to code” programs!

Source: https://www.softwarehamilton.com/2017/10/1...
AuthorLorenzo Somma



On behalf of the Industry-Education Council of Hamilton, our Board of Directors, and our community partners – a big thank you to Bentley Systems Canada for their financial contribution to the HCC program.

Rob Prouse, Advisory Software Engineer at Bentley Systems Canada, has supported HCC for a few years now. He takes his time to mentor the future ICT workforce, by running clubs within our community, and recently, he submitted a STEM application to his company to provide support to our program.

We are excited to announce that this grant went through and our program now has the resources to purchase additional technology to support our core HCC program as well as our robotics module!

Source: https://hamiltoncodeclubs.com/2017/09/12/b...
AuthorLorenzo Somma
CategoriesCode Club


Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2016

As parents arrived at Viscount Montgomery’s open house this month, they were greeted by a club of keen young people excited to show off their video games.

But the students didn’t just play the games – they created and coded the games themselves.

Grade 7 student Rhyanna said she liked gaming but “didn’t have a clue” how to code before signing up for the weekly meetings of her east-end school’s code club. Four weeks later, it was a different story.

 Viscount Montgomery teacher Sarah Weston (in blue) with Code Club students and parents at the school’s recent open house.

Viscount Montgomery teacher Sarah Weston (in blue) with Code Club students and parents at the school’s recent open house.

She had coded her first game, Crossy Road, which looks like Frogger. She moved on to Geometry Dash with its cube that jumps to avoid a mouse. Her third game, Don’t Touch the Snake, needs little explanation.

Viscount Montgomery was the first HWDSB school to host Hamilton Code Club, a new partnership with the Industry-Education Council of HamiltonABACUS and Software Hamilton to foster coding in schools. Other HWDSB elementary schools involved this year include Adelaide Hoodless, Ancaster Meadow, Dalewood, Norwood Park, Pauline Johnson, Queensdale and Queen Victoria.

The club represents the first step by students in the promising field of computer science and programming. By 2019 there will be a shortage of 182,000 information and communications technology (ICT) workers in Canada, explains program co-ordinator Beth Gibson.

One possible solution to this gap was on display at the open house, as teacher Sarah Weston’s Grade 7/8 students explained to parents how they moved through six weeks of lessons and are now able to create games of their own.

The program they use, Hopscotch, makes coding easy because students can drag and drop segments of code – written in English not a programming language – into their program to make characters move.

“There is a lot of independent reading, problem solving and decoding as students try to understand something and come up with synonyms,” Weston said. “After two weeks the students are asking each other for advice rather than using the instructional videos.”

Educators like the strong curriculum links – and getting students excited about a new school activity.

“Schools often pay attention to the sports teams and other groups that not everyone participates in,” Principal Stephen Yull said. “This allows us to dig deeper with iPads, so students can use their imagination and creativity. You get to pursue the ideas that you have and how to design things that you have thought of.”

Club mentor Kevin Browne – a professor of computer science at Mohawk College – said the strong link between computer science and math becomes clear as soon as students understand the importance of the X- and Y-axis when it comes to moving their characters.

“We begin with video tutorials and a game like Frogger, and they learn about loops and conditionals, which are key to coding at higher levels,” said Browne, who has a PhD in computer science and organizes tech and start-up events with Software Hamilton.

He’s excited about code clubs growing the local tech community, noting that cities can only flourish as tech hubs when they have a population of people literate in code.

Weston’s six-week stint within the Hamilton Code Club umbrella has wrapped up – but her students are still keen. They drop by on breaks to sign out iPads and continue their learning and experimentation.

She notes that the club of 15 students included five girls, including Rhyanna.

“I learned that a lot of work goes into coding and when you make a big game you would have to think about where the controller is and so many different things,” Rhyanna said. “I really liked it and would like to make video games one day.”

«Is There Alien Life on Earth?

Source: http://www.hwdsb.on.ca/blog/lets-talk-abou...

We are very fortunate in Ontario to have an education system that strives for excellence and equity for all students. This week, May 2-6, is Education Week in Ontario and National Mental Health Awareness Week.

We need to be proud and share the success stories in education as well as engage in important conversations regarding mental health. The success of our education system depends on the positive mental health and well-being of staff, students and our entire community.

Providing students with the support they need to think, feel and act in ways that enhance their ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges they face is critical to their achievement and long-term success.

As HWDSB staff, we all have the power to make a significant difference in creating the core conditions of positive mental health and well-being for our students and staff.


This Education Week, thank you for all that you do to support and promote mental health and well-being within our community in order to support our students achieving excellence.


Manny Figueiredo
Director of Education

Monday, May 2, 2016 AT 7:30 PM

Post-secondary Transition Talk

Dr. Nathan Cooper from McMaster Student Wellness will discuss with families and students of all ages how to positively navigate the upcoming challenges of transitioning to post-secondary education. All are welcome.

Event Flyer

Address: Westdale secondary, 700 Main Street West. Room: Auditorium

Contact: Timothy Powell-McBride, mailto:tpowellm@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-522-1387 ext: 223

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 AT 8:30 AM

Wellness Day at Ancaster Senior Public School (ASPS)

During Mental Health Week, Ancaster Senior is holding its second annual Wellness Day Conference to give students the tools they need to face pressures at this age (anxiety, stress, depression etc.) Students will begin their first session in the gym with a presentation from Live Different on building resiliency, boosting self-esteem and self-confidence. Then, students will break into their second session – either Nutrition (led by dieticians), Mental Health (led by our Psychological Services consultants and Minds Up coaches), Groove dance (led by Michelle Hillier from Groove EDGEucation), Yoga (led by the owner of Huron Yoga), or Art (led by an ASPS art teacher and planned with our arts consultant). The sessions are one hour in length. After lunch, the students will attend two more sessions before the day comes to an end.

Read the blog post from last year for background.

Address: 295 Nakoma Road, Ancaster

Contact: Natalie Allan, nallan@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-648-4439

Tuesday May 3, 2016, 10:00 AM

Together We Create Change

As part of Education Week, HWDSB is celebrating and sharing the actions that staff and students are taking to make change within their community from a local and global perspective. Each school is invited to attend with students to share and learn from other schools. Our students have been engaged in a number of different initiatives that range from environmental literacy and activism (Ontario EcoSchools), Run 4 Change, 20/20 Challenge, anti-bullying initiatives, International Day of Pink, LGBTQ /Positive Space groups and much more. We will be fully supporting our commitment to the David Suzuki Foundation’s Bluedot campaign by having a live waste audit on site (Together is a litterless event). Students will also be sharing their messages of commitment through other words or images by creating buttons to affix to our Bluedot (a giant 6’ x 6’ denim circle to be hung on the wall). The day will also see student storefronts, speakers corner, a blogging café, spoken word performances, lots of social media and keynote speaker Spencer West from Me to We.

Event Flyer and Blog

Address: Carmen’s Banquet Centre, 1520 Stone Church Rd. E. Room: Entire Venue

Contact: Aaron Puley, apuley@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-531-4894

Tuesday May 3, 2016 AT 7:00 PM

Let’s Talk Well-Being

During Mental Health Week, Let’s Talk Well-Being will discuss with parents and caregivers ways to build resiliency and mental health in our youth. After opening remarks by HWDSB Director Manny Figueiredo, the keynote speaker will be Dr. Bruce Ferguson PhD., C. Psych. There is also an opportunity to speak to community support agencies at storefront displays.

Event Flyer
Address: 25 High Street. Room: Auditorium

Contact: Ann Hewitt, ahewitt@hwdsb.on.ca

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 AT 5:30 PM

Parents as Partners: Shared Vision + Shared Solution = Student Success

Parents as Partners invites you to an evening with Shelley Woon, Superintendent of Leadership & Learning: Specialized Services for a session on Shared Vision + Shared Solutions = Student Success.

Event Flyer

Address: 20 Education Court. Room: 180A

Contact: Ann Hewitt, ahewitt@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-527-5092

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 At 6:00 PM

Education Week at Balaclava

Balaclava will be holding an Open House for Education Week from 6 to 7:30 p.m. with a book fair running all week.

Address: Balaclava School, 280-10th Concession Rd. E., Freelton

Contact: Greg Best, gbest@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-659-3396

Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Dr. John Seaton School – Fun Fair for Education Week

Fun Fair will include animals from a local farm, fire truck, BBQ, silent auction, book fair and booths in the gym on educational themes, school activities and resources.

Address: Dr. John Seaton school, 1279 Seaton Rd., Sheffield

Contact: Principal Eddie Grattan, egrattan@hwdsb.on.ca, 519-647-3471

Thursday, May 5, 2016 AT 4:30 PM

Helen Detwiler 25th Anniversary

Helen Detwiler is celebrating its 25th Anniversary! There will be reflections and artifacts from the past, student voice from the present and honouring a 25-year journey of Helen Detwiler.

Address: 320 Brigade Drive. Room: Gymnasium

Contact: Principal Nancy Radojevic, nradojev@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-574-2662

Thursday, May 5, 2016 AT 5:00 PM

Holbrook Open House & Family Meal for Education Week

Visit classrooms and share in a multicultural meal, celebrating the unique backgrounds of Holbrook’s students

Address: 450 Sanatorium Road. Room: Gym.

Contact: Cathie Lemmond, clemmond@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-385-5369

Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Viscount Montgomery Education Week Open House – with Code Club Demonstrations

Viscount Montgomery was the first Hamilton Code Club at HWDSB that was part of a new partnership with the Industry Education Council, to foster coding at HWDSB schools. Sarah Weston’s Grade 7/8 class will be set up in the main lobby to demonstrate the games that student created using the code they have learned – and visiting students and families get to try them too!

Address: 1525 Lucerne Avenue

Contact: Teacher Sarah Weston, sjweston@hwdsb.on.ca

Thursday, May 5, 2016 AT 5:30 PM

Education Week Wellness Fair at R.L. Hyslop

Let’s Get Together … and Be Well! Open House in the R.L. Hyslop gymnasium for parents to enjoy an evening where they can approach, discuss and find support for various health and wellness concerns with representatives from school and community wellness services. Also, visitors can see R.L. Hyslop’s new Buddy Bench.

Address: R.L. Hyslop elementary, 20 Lake Ave., Stoney Creek

Contact: Principal Brian Playfair, bplayfair@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-662-8425

Saturday, May 7, 2016 AT 10:00 AM to Sunday, May 8, 2016 AT 4PM

PHOTO: DOORS OPEN HAMILTON 2016 – Three HWDSB buildings featured at two locations

As part of Doors Open Hamilton, visitors are invited to tour three interesting HWDSB buildings at two locations. These include:

  • Mohawk Trail School Museum: A restored 1882 one-room schoolhouse open for the first time since its relocation. Located behind the HWDSB Education Centre, 20 Education Court.
  • HWDSB Education Centre: The new administrative building for HWDSB opened in 2014. At 20 Education Court, off Upper Wentworth near Mohawk Road East.
  • HWDSB Educational Archives and Heritage Centre: Displays of school memorabilia, yearbooks, photos and more! At 155 Macassa Avenue near Upper Gage.

Event Flyer

Contact: Sue Phillips, scphilli@hwdsb.on.ca

Saturday, May 7, 2016 AT 7:00 PM

Southmount Secondary Reunion

A meet and greet opportunity to catch up with students and staff who were at Southmount Secondary School from 1964-1970. Find additional information on the website http://www.southmountreunion.ca.

Address: Leander Boat Club, 50 Leander Drive

Contact: Jean Bethune, bethunejean@gmail.com

Source: http://www.hwdsb.on.ca/media/events/educat...
AuthorLorenzo Somma
CategoriesEdu Week

Spotlight on: Melanie Sodtka, McKeil School of Business Professor and Faculty Lead for SURGE


Spotlight on is a special series profiling the faculty and staff at Mohawk who are making a difference at the college and in the community.

Melanie Sodtka sees a day when the hard work and creativity of Mohawk students and alumni ring up sales on campus.

Sodtka is the Faculty Lead of SURGE, Mohawk’s entrepreneurial hub. SURGE offers year-round workshops, training, mentorship and competitions. All of the activity is aimed at fostering innovation and supporting students aspiring to launch their own businesses.

After only just over a year on the ground, two students working with SURGE will have their offerings available through the campus bookstore. One arranges leases for cellphones as well as a full stop mobile shop and the other designs and creates jewellery with ethically sourced crystals.

“It’s very exciting to be doing this,” said Sodtka, a professor and coordinator of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship program for the McKeil School of Business at Mohawk.

Sodtka’s two-year plan for SURGE focuses on creating a marketplace for student and alumni business ventures.

“We would love to see a SURGE-dedicated showcase to promote our clients’ products and services.”

SURGE launched in January 2015 after Mohawk successfully landed a grant from the Ontario Centres of Excellence.

“There is a very healthy ecosystem in Hamilton. We don’t duplicate efforts. We work together to create a united front.”

Melanie Sodtka, McKeil School of Business Professor

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The purpose of SURGE is threefold - foster an entrepreneurial culture at Mohawk, nurture student and alumni startups and link with community resources such as Innovation Factory and the Forge at McMaster.

“There is a very healthy ecosystem in Hamilton. We don’t duplicate efforts. We work together to create a united front.”

Sodtka’s primary objective is to raise awareness of SURGE and encourage participation in its workshops and activities. That includes “guerrilla” marketing techniques, visits to classrooms and engaging with other faculty and staff members.

Expert presentations have included social entrepreneurship, angel investors, bricks and mortar, and technology. SURGE has also hosted a career startup fair attended by over 350 people.

A pitch competition at the end of March helps students refine their ideas and approaches to potential investors, partners and clients. Students have the shot at a $1,000 prize and gain valuable advice from community judges.

Also thanks to SURGE, students at Mohawk’s Skilled Trades Campus in Stoney Creek meet accountants, lawyers and insurance experts who guide them through the business side of working in the trades.

“About nine per cent of our students currently get formal access to entrepreneurship in their curriculum,” said Sodtka.

To help fill that gap,Sodtka landed research money through Mohawk’s iDeaWorks to develop a two-hour online entrepreneurship module called an Entrepreneur in Every Classroom. Sodtka says the module can fit into any program.

“It’s highly interactive and focuses on an entrepreneurial mindset. Not everyone will start their own business but it really can help in any job.”

Sodtka, a mother of two young children, also owns her own consulting business and was recently named among the Top 40 under 40 in Hamilton. She worked in marketing, international training and development, leadership development and North American recruitment at food giant General Mills before coming to Mohawk in 2011 after discovering her love for teaching.

Sodtka, who holds a bachelors in sociology from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from Niagara University, was thrilled to be asked to take on responsibility for SURGE.

“My worlds are colliding in such a good way,” she said about combining her love of entrepreneurship with teaching.

SURGE, which is supported by eight faculty entrepreneurs and five student ambassadors, has been a great success since its launch.

“Getting this started has been such an outstanding experience and I am tremendously passionate about it. We’ve become a victim of our own success. To keep up with demand, I expect we will need to bring on more people. The groundwork has been laid.”

In just a little more than a year, SURGE has connected with almost 1,000 students and community members. The hub has 18 active clients (students and non-students), including about one-third who are international students. SURGE has accelerated three businesses to the launch stage.

SURGE is a member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs.

There is a tremendous entrepreneurial ecosystem in Hamilton, says Sodtka. Representatives of Hamilton’s broad innovation and entrepreneurship community meet every other week to talk about clients, coordinate events and establish partnerships, says Sodtka.

That includes SURGE, Innovation Factory, the McMaster Industry Liaison Office, Spectrum and the Forge.

“There is such passion for this work in Hamilton, so we have tremendous community partners supporting us.”


Mohawk College educates and serves 30,000 full-time, part-time and apprenticeship students annually from three campuses in Hamilton. For five consecutive years, Mohawk has been ranked the number one college in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for overall student satisfaction. Mohawk has also been recognized as one of Canada’s greenest employers and one of the top employers in the Hamilton-Niagara Region. More than 105,000 students have graduated from Mohawk since 1967.

STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – is Blooming at HWDSB

Posted on Thursday, April 07, 2016


It has been a big month for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at HWDSB – thanks to outstanding teams and clubs of coders, award-winning science fair participants and impressive new and existing robotics programs.

STEM is considered one of the most promising fields of study and employment as Canada continues to develop its knowledge economy. It may also face labour shortages if students are not prepared.

“We are transforming learning throughout HWDSB as we foster learning through inquiry, innovation and critical thinking,” said Executive Superintendent of Leadership and Learning Peter Joshua. “We owe our students an education that prepares them for a 21st century economy where they will work in jobs that haven’t yet been invented.”

Board-wide Coding Contest

 Westdale coders (L-R) Nicola Lawford, Brigitte Ziemann and Sylvia Kukucska are on their way to regionals.

Westdale coders (L-R) Nicola Lawford, Brigitte Ziemann and Sylvia Kukucska are on their way to regionals.

For the first time, an all-female coding team (Nuclear Lemons) on April 5 won the HWDSB Computer Programming Contest. Teams had three hours to solve four problems using the computer programming language of their choice. They were scored on the efficiency of their solution and on the time it took them to finish the questions.

Westdale computer science standouts Nicola Lawford, Brigitte Ziemann, Sylvia Kukucska and Miruna Dragomir (missing in photo) are on their way to theECOO regionals to be held on April 30 at York University. HWDSB sends best wishes with all five teams heading to regionals.

Code Clubs on the Rise

Coding is growing at schools across HWDSB, thanks in part to a new Hamilton Code Club program that gives middle school students a chance to try computer programming in an inclusive and fun setting. In the program, volunteer mentors visit Hamilton-area schools, for six weeks, to introduce beginner coding tools like Scratch and Hopscotch to students, and teach them how to build simple games and applications using the tools. Clubs now exist in dozens of HWDSB schools.

Hamilton Code Club is a program by the Industry-Education Council of Hamilton (IEC), and is supported by an ABACUS grant from the Hamilton Community Foundation. ABACUS aims to increase post-secondary access by focusing on children in the middle-school years. The IEC is a not-for-profit organization serving Greater Hamilton, devoted to fostering partnerships between business, industry, government, community and education to support experiential learning opportunities for all learners, through quality mentoring.

HWDSB at Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair (BASEF)

Also this week, results are in for this year’s Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair (BASEF) sponsored by ArcelorMittal Dofasco. Westmount secondary students have come away big winners.

Here are some highlights of the results for HWDSB schools:

  • ArcelorMittal Dofasco Pinnacle Best-in-Fair Award: Isabella O’Brien, Westmount Secondary, Hamilton. Aquatic Osteoporosis: Remediating the emerging problem of lack calcium decline
  • Third Place: Samna Aziz, Westmount Secondary, Hamilton. Coral and Legos: Surface modification of polycaprolactone and hydroxyapatite endosseous implant fixture coatings
  • Drs. Ranjan and Monalisa Sur Award for Best High School Project: Isabella O’Brien

High school projects advancing to the Intel International Science and Engineering in Phoenix, Ariz. in May include: Samna Aziz (third in BASEF) and Radhika Khanna, Westmount Secondary, Hamilton. Synthesis of Thermo-responsive pNIPAM-b-HEA Block Co-Polymer Hydro Gels for Drug Delivery Applications.

Sixteen students with top projects will advance to the Canada Wide Science Fair to be held in May in Montreal, Quebec. HWDSB in this group include:

  • Zoe Chisholm, Sir William Osler, Synthesizing silver nanoparticles onto cellulose to create an antimicrobial wound dressing
  • Camila Moran-Hidalgo, Sir William Osler, Synthesizing silver nanoparticles onto cellulose to create an antimicrobial wound dressing
  • Isabella O’Brien, Westmount, Aquatic Osteoporosis: Remediating the emerging problem of lake calcium decline
  • Margaret Williams, Ancaster High, The Role of Fabric in the Prevention of Nosocomial Illness: Environmentally-Friendly Solutions

There were also more great projects at BASEF – visit their website to find more details and descriptions.

In addition, this spring has seen a lot happen on the robotics front.

Orchard Park Robotics Win

You may remember when Rick Mercer visited Orchard Park’s robotics Team 2056 recently to tape footage for the Rick Mercer Report. Theepisode has aired on CBC TV and features Rick interacting with the amazing OP team and teacher-mentor Stan Hunter. Team 2056 received the Motorola Quality Award and regional win at the Greater Toronto East Regional competition in Oshawa. It was the team’s 23rd consecutive victory at the regional FIRST Robotics Canada competition.

VEX Robotics Kits

Robotics is taking off in more HWDSB schools thanks to CODE funding for 152 VEX IQ Robotics kits, distributed to schools across the board. Kit holders and key teachers (such as those involved in after-school robotics clubs) gathered in January – calling themselves “Team Curious” – to practice. Orchard Park students and staff helped develop ideas and ways to get the most of the kits in schools.

On March 22, Team Curious hosted more than 60 educators at OP for an amazing day of robot building, coding and curriculum sharing.

“The energy and learning from that day were incredible!” said OP Vice-Principal Beth Woof.

Next, staff will spend time with students as organizers monitor how the project is unfolding. “We are already getting reports that students are eagerly opening the boxes, exploring how the robots can be built, asking questions and imagineering all the possibilities.”

Enjoy some photos from the Team Curious VEX professional development session at Orchard Park.

 Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

 Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

 Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

 Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

 Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

 Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

 Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders

    Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.


Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Source: http://www.hwdsb.on.ca/blog/stem-blooms-at...

IEC Hamilton accepting applications to advanced manufacturing training program

Hamilton Spectator

Industry Education Council of Hamilton is currently accepting applications for the third year of Entry Level Advantage to Employment. Delivered by Mohawk College, the advanced manufacturing training program is open to Hamilton youth, ages 19 to 29. The course, which begins May 9 and runs until February 2017, costs $250. It teaches the fundamentals in machining, welding, electrical, fluid power, CAD and blueprint reading. Participants are equipped with personal safety equipment, a tool kit and a tablet that students keep upon successful completion of the course. For more information, visit www.iechamilton.ca, call 905-529-4483 ext. 226 or email elate@iechamilton.ca.


The Hamilton Spectator

AuthorLorenzo Somma
CategoriesElate 3

The right time to ask your child what they want to be when they grow up

You can pretty much count on visiting relatives to ask your kids what they want to be when they grow up. The question can be daunting for little ones, who might say they want to be a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher, without truly grasping what the job entails. (Heaven forbid, I often joke, that my kids say they want to be a writer or entrepreneur like their mom. I could tell them a thing or two about precarious professions.)


Still, it’s never too young to get children thinking about their career opportunities in subtle, age-appropriate ways. The sweet spot to capturing a child’s imagination with respect to work seems to occur around Grades 5 and 6, according to research by Career Trek in partnership with the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba. Somewhat surprisingly, the study found that students in that group demonstrated greater awareness of the importance of planning for a career than did children in higher grades.

Riz Ibrahim, executive director of the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC), which funded the study, said the research focused on children who went through the “Career Trek” program, a framework to explore different professional interests. If a participating student in Grade 5 or 6 expressed an interest in being a veterinarian, he or she would get information about the type of place a veterinarian works and the education that’s required.

The Career Trek program then reconnects with the students in a later grade, such as 9 or 10, to find out whether they still want to be a veterinarian. If so, the child is asked a series of questions about their likes and dislikes – such as, are they squeamish about blood? If that bit goes well, the program might arrange a visit to a veterinarian.

If the child’s interest has waned, however, the program might suggest another career path that draws on those preferences.

The important part is to emphasize likes and dislikes rather than focus on the specific job, Mr. Ibrahim said. So, rather than force your aspiring veterinarian to clean the kitty litter box daily or shoot down their rock-star goals, the idea is to try to uncover their interests in order to guide them down the right path early on.

“The research was looking at what kinds of interactions were beneficial from Grades 3 to 4, and up to [Grade] 12. It found that for kids in Grades 5 and 6, this information around things you like and dislike were really important,” Mr. Ibrahim said. He also noted that parents of kids in the Grade 5 to 6 window were also a lot more involved in these discussions than they were in later grades. That may be why the study showed the inclination toward planning for a future career peters off in Grade 7.

Unfortunately, as children grow older and enter secondary school, the conversation about careers tends to focus too narrowly on where the jobs are by encouraging children to “follow the money,” observed Joe Henry, dean of students at King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario.

While this isn’t necessarily wrong, he added, it shuts down career options before the discussion can even get started. He observed that young people today will likely have a more varied career path than those currently in the work force and it’s important for children to be exposed to a variety of options to allow them to “pivot” when new opportunities arise.

To accomplish that, parents should help their children understand their strengths and encourage them to engage in activities or volunteering experiences to explore career interests rather than burden them with specific career advice.

“Parents don’t always have the best career advice or understanding of job market,” Mr. Henry said.

Ultimately, we want our children to grow up to be not only successful, but also happy with their work. Dr. Michael Cheng, a staff psychiatrist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, said that the best way to raise happy employees is to start with a happy childhood filled with solid connections to other people.

Up to the age of 6, parents should be instilling in children the idea that work is about connecting to other people and that the important thing in life is to be productive and make a contribution to society. Naturally, disagreements sometimes occur with co-workers in any job, but just like their experience with friends at school, these are issues that can be solved, he said.

“At the end of the day, parents want to send to their kids the message that what’s most important in life is connections to family and making a contribution. As long as what you are saying is consistent with those bigger messages, that’s all that’s important,” Dr. Cheng said.

Leah Eichler is founder and CEO of r/ally, a machine-learning, human capital search engine for enterprises. Twitter: @LeahEichler

Mentoring makes a difference.

 ALYSSA LAI  Courtesy Alyssa Lai   Young women must be given the opportunities to lead, writes Alyssa Lai.


Courtesy Alyssa Lai

Young women must be given the opportunities to lead, writes Alyssa Lai.

A study by the Canadian Women's Foundation found that 83 per cent of mentored young women believe they were more confident because of it.

The study suggests that self-confidence can lead to positive life outcomes for girls, including better physical health, improved school grades, a stronger voice against bullying and harassment, more career choices and higher earning potential.

While the conversation on mentorship is not new, the need is even greater for young women and girls. 

Females make up more than half the population of Hamilton but they face a daunting list of gender-specific challenges. 

Studies have shown that the early years affect their lives as women. Although young women (aged 15 to 19) perform better academically than young men, they experience higher levels of stress and are out-earned by their male counterparts in the labour market.

Approximately 12 per cent of females between 12 and 19 have experienced depression, more than double the rate for males in the same age group, says a study commissioned by Hamilton Community Foundation. 

But when young women take part in mentoring with women, they build confidence, learn to identify their strengths and envision the kind of female leaders they can be. 

Common models of female mentorship involve older seasoned professionals mentoring young professionals.

Yet having a younger mentor can be just as beneficial.

In a pilot program between Hamilton HIVE and YWCA Hamilton's Young Women's Advisory Council, young women professionals partnered with young women in high school to provide advice on the transition to post-secondary education and, for recent grads, into the workforce. 

This female peer-mentoring model allowed young women to learn from someone closer to their age who had faced challenges they could relate to.

The challenges included stress at school and work, body image, mental health, isolation, thriving in STEM fields and peer pressure. The HIVE-YWCA pilot project involved five pairs of young women and showed that mentorship can take many forms and is not limited to age.

Beyond mentorship, what do Hamilton's young women need to succeed?

Social support — educational and emotional — at home, at school and in the community is critical for young women to thrive, reports Girls Action Foundation.

Young women must be encouraged and given the opportunities to lead and shape policies that better reflect their needs.

For the Conference Board of Canada, this means eliminating "unconscious bias" and doubts about young women's ability to take on leadership roles, ensuring that organizations can identify and develop the best talent regardless of gender.  

Since the first International Women's Day in 1911, Canada has come a long way — from gaining the right to vote in 1921 to achieving gender parity in cabinet last year.

We shouldn't stop just because it's 2016.

Young woman professional Alyssa Lai is the chair of Hamilton HIVE, the umbrella organization of young professional groups and leaders in the city. www.hamiltonhive.ca