I gave Hamilton City Council an update on our City School project and previewed our plans to expand to two more lower city neighbourhoods in the near future. To make a college education accessible to all Hamiltonians, City School by Mohawk is bringing our college into priority neighbourhoods.
CITY SCHOOL BY MOHAWK UPDATE TO HAMILTON CITY COUNCIL
Thank you Deputy Mayor Murella:
Back in February, I came before Council to announce Mohawk’s welcoming communities project. It’s a project aimed at recruiting more international students to Mohawk and then encouraging them to live and work in Hamilton once they graduate.
Work is well underway on our welcoming communities project. We’ve assembled a steering committee of business and community leaders, including Sarah Wayland with the City’s Global Hamilton initiatives. We’re bringing 30 thought leaders to Mohawk next week for a two-day summit. We’ll have an action plan ready to roll out early in the new year. While Mohawk is an academic institution, this will not be an academic exercise.
This morning, I’d like to update you on another major project for Mohawk and the city we serve. With our welcoming communities project, Mohawk is helping to import talent to Hamilton. With our access project, we’re developing the talent in our own backyard.
Specifically, the wealth of talent in priority neighbourhoods across the lower city and on the Mountain.
We launched City School by Mohawk earlier this month as part of our access project. We were honoured to have Councillor Matthew Green and Minister Ted McMeekin officially open our first City School at the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre in North Hamilton.
During the opening, we also recognized an incredibly generous leadership gift from Dundas residents Dr. Douglas Barber and his wife June. In supporting City School with a donation of $100,000, the Barbers have brought a college education to an entire North End neighbourhood.
City School marks the evolution of Mohawk’s access project.
We launched our access project six years ago to make a college education accessible to all Hamiltonians. Leading our access project is Jim Vanderveken who is with us this morning. You would be hard pressed to find anyone in Hamilton or the Province of Ontario who has more passion for improving access to postsecondary education.
Jim and our college believe that education is Hamilton’s best poverty to prosperity solution. We see the evidence every day in our hallways and classrooms. We’re committed to replicating that success in the neighbourhoods in your wards.
We started our access project with a College in Motion team. Every year, our team connects with thousands of young people in more than 30 local high schools and community centres in every ward.
Over 800 of those young people have since enrolled at Mohawk. Our team demystifies college and marks a clear path to earning a postsecondary education.
Our College in Motion team will continue to work with high school students from across Hamilton.
City School builds on the success of College in Motion and brings Mohawk into the community in a way that we’ve never done before.
To the best of our knowledge, no other college in Ontario is taking community engagement to this level.
City School aligns with both the Province’s Community Hubs Action Plan and the City’s Neighbourhood Action Strategy.
We plan to open six City Schools over the next three years, with five City Schools in the lower city and one on the Mountain.
Right now, we’re working with community leaders to open our next two City Schools in the Gibson-Landsdowne and McQueston neighbourhoods.
Consultation and collaboration are Mohawk’s guiding principles for City School.
To open a City School, Mohawk needs to be invited into to a neighbourhood by the leaders, champions and residents in that community.
We will not arrive in any neighborhood uninvited and unannounced, with assumptions about what’s best for residents.
Instead, we’re counting on the people in each neighbourhood to tell us what programs and services they need from Mohawk. City School will be customized to meet specific community needs.
In some neighbourhoods, the focus for City School will be on serving at-risk youth. In other neighbourhoods, the greatest need could be serving single moms or newcomers.
At the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre, we have been asked to deliver job search and career prep workshops, computer skills training, general interest college courses and a mentorship program.
All of the workshops, courses and services we offer are tuition-free and delivered by faculty, staff and students. The quality of the programs we offer at City School will be equal to the quality of the programs we offer at our three Hamilton campuses.
Consultation is absolutely critical to the success of City School. So to is close collaboration with our college partners.
Much of the success of our College in Motion team rests on the strength of our partnerships we have forged with both school boards.
We plan to replicate that approach with City School by Mohawk.
We look forward to working in collaboration with the City of Hamilton and with our partners from the public, non-profit and private sectors.
We need partners to provide a home for City School in each neighbourhood. With this project, Mohawk is investing in people rather than bricks and mortar. We’re investing in programs and services rather than rents and mortgages.
I had the privilege of taking part in the City’s Our Future Hamilton – Communities in Conversation back in September.
During my talk, I quoted former U.S. President Harry Truman who once said “it is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
Mohawk shares that philosophy. And it’s the approach we’re taking with our community-building invitiatives, whether it’s importing talent to Hamilton or developing the talent in our own backyard.
We look forward to working with you and city staff to bring our college into your communities in the months and years ahead.