By: Sarah Janes
Members of the McMaster community are likely familiar with program areas such as the Office of Community Engagement, Hire McMaster, Student Success Centre, and many others.
These areas all share a commonality – they are committed to cultivating problem-based and experiential learning opportunities in order to prepare students for the job market.
The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD), through their Career Ready Fund, has awarded McMaster just over $800,000 to support a number of hands-on learning opportunities.
The Career Ready Fund helps develop and expand experiential learning opportunities for postsecondary students. This type of learning in a real or simulated workplace helps prepare students for the transition to work.
Funding from the Ministry will help students continue to be exposed to a range of experiential learning opportunities in every faculty, ranging from applied research, field experience, capstone and community-based projects, service learning, consulting opportunities, internships, co-op and more.
It will also enable program areas to address emerging priorities focused on underrepresented and disadvantaged groups and to encourage and support students to pursue international experiential learning opportunities with the help of a travel stipend program.
Experiential learning initiatives that are currently in place include the recently launched Hire McMaster campaign, a united effort to connect employers with McMaster students for various types of employment opportunities. The program plans to connect with 500 new employers in the first year alone and will represent the university more visibly at public events and conferences where employers congregate.
The Office of Community Engagement, with the support from a MacPherson Palat Grant, has created a toolkit to help staff and faculty DESIGN or augment courses by developing community-engaged curriculum and education initiatives. Community engagement values fostering ongoing collaboration between the University and community partners on how to better understand and consider the issues identified as priorities by local and global communities. The Office welcomes feedback about the toolkit and anticipates revisions based on recommendations.