Remarks: Strengthening collaborations with Mohawk College’s partners in Burlington Reply

I had the opportunity to speak this morning at the Burlington Economic Development
Corporation‘s Annual General Meeting.

Strengthening collaborations and partnerships is one of the priorities in Mohawk’s new strategic plan. Mohawk has more than 1,000 private, public and nonprofit sectors, with many in Burlington.

Our college can help companies grow and compete globally by working on applied research and capstone projects, providing co-op work terms to top young talent, developing marketing and advertising campaigns with students through The Agency at the McKeil School of Business and receiving customized training and development programs through Mohawk College Enterprise.

Here’s a copy of my remarks:

“Good morning everyone.

Thank you Frank for the invitation to talk about partnerships and collaboration.

Not only am I proud to serve as president of the number one college in the GTHA for student satisfaction and graduate employment.

I’m also proud to call Burlington – Canada’s best medium-sized city – my home.

And I’m not alone.

Burlington is home to thousands of Mohawk students and future ready graduates.

Since 2011, Mohawk has educated and served 5,000 full and part-time students from Burlington and another 400 apprentices.

Visit any Burlington employer, from L3 Wescam, Stresscrete and Jo Brant Hospital to Cogeco and the CUMIS Group, and you’ll find Mohawk alumni.

Even more future ready Mohawk graduates are headed your way. Ready to live and work in Burlington.  And ready to help you attract even more high growth, knowledge-based companies.

Like the City of Burlington, Mohawk is ready to grow.

We just launched our latest strategic plan for Mohawk.

Like Burlington’s strategic plan, we’ve set bold and ambitious goals.

Within the next five years, we aim to be the number one college in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for employer satisfaction.

We’ve set our sights on being the number one college in Ontario for graduate employment. Many of our business, health and technology programs already have grad employment rates at 100 per cent. We have students graduating with multiple job offers which warms the hearts of parents everywhere.

A few weeks ago, we hosted a Meet the Employer night for students in our Insurance program. Dozens of employers took part. They had more job offers than students graduating from our program.  The demand for graduates is just as high in our Financial Services program.

Along with being number one in employer satisfaction and graduate employment, we aspire to be among the top 10 colleges in Canada for applied research.

We’re currently ranked 17th in Canada.

If you joined us for Burlington Day at our Fennell campus last fall, then you’ll already toured our centres of excellence in applied research.

We have teams of students, graduates, faculty and staff working in three centres that are unique to Ontario:

  • An Additive Manufacturing Resource Centre where we create prototypes and metal parts on industrial 3D printers.
  • A mobile and electronic health development and innovation centre where the leading edge of health and technology intersect.
  • And an Energy Research Centre, specializing in smart grids, microgrids, power quality and distributed generation.

Our applied research teams are working with more than 100 partners from the private, public and non-profit sectors. We’re working with start-ups, small and medium size enterprises, multinational corporations and international NGOs. One of our teams is working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners to build a vaccination database for health workers in Tanzania.

Another partner who’s closer to home is Burlington-based m-Health Solutions.

m-Health Solutions is an innovative health sciences company. They provide fast, convenient, flexible, and simple arrhythmia monitoring and cardiac diagnosis solutions to physicians and patients.

Electrocardiograms are sent over a wireless network to a cardiac interpreting centre. This provides physicians with near real time monitoring. For patients, this technology can be a life-saver.

Our applied research team worked with m-Health Solutions to build a secure electronic document exchange between their company and primary care clinics.

m-Health Solutions is now working with our additive manufacturing centre to build highly specialized metal parts.

m-Health Solutions is the kind of company we love to work with at Mohawk.

We get to help a growing local company bring an innovative solution to market and compete on the world stage.

We get to help build prosperity and create jobs in our community.

And our students get invaluable experience that transforms them into future ready graduates. They get to hone their technical skills. And they develop their soft skills working with clients and managing projects. They learn to think and act like entrepreneurs.

They are exactly what knowledge-based businesses are looking for. They’re also sought after by cities that want the talent pool to attract high-growth companies.

The work we’re doing in applied research is drawing national and international attention and acclaim. Our mobile and electronic health solutions team is a finalist for a PriceWaterhouseCoopers Vision to Reality Award. This award recognize companies that lead the charge in disrupting and reshaping industries through innovation.

When we talk with our partners in applied research, here are the four things they value most about working with Mohawk.

For start-ups and smaller companies, Mohawk is their research and development department. These companies get full access to equipment and technology that they could never afford on their own. They also tap into the brainpower of our students and faculty.

Our additive manufacturing centre is the first and only one of its kind in Ontario. There are just three centres like it in all of Canada. And it’s just an easy 20 minute drive from Burlington.

Our teams move at the speed of business. We understand the need to be first to market. We don’t talk about what we could do. We just do it. We get it done. And we get it done right.

Our teams connect companies to government funding. Not only do we make the connections, we handle the paperwork.

And Mohawk has a very simple policy when it comes to intellectual property. You own whatever you create with our teams. It’s yours, not ours.

Now applied research is just one of the ways we’re helping to grow Burlington companies.

You can put our students to work through co-op work terms and capstone projects that are embedded into the curriculum of our projects.

Thousands of Mohawk students do co-ops every year. Our college was the first in Canada to offer cooperative education and we remain a leader. Just last week, one of our co-op students won a provincial award for her work at ArcelorMittal Dofasco.

Every company and city is looking to attract top young talent. A co-op is a powerful magnet.  And it’s a risk free audition for both you and the student.

We have a team at Mohawk that will make it easy for you to set up value-added co-ops for students in our business and technology programs.

Along with being a leader in co-ops, we’re the largest trainer of apprentices in Ontario. We’re training the next generation of skilled trades people who keep our economy moving.  And we’re open to unique partnerships.

Here’s one example. The Walters Group is in the business of creating complex structural steel for commercial and industrial construction projects throughout North America. Walters wanted to get ahead of the growing skills shortage. So we created a unique one-year program where students earn while they learn. They spend part of their week studying at Mohawk and then work paid shifts at Walters. The best students graduate with job offers.

With Sheridan College moving their apprenticeship training programs to Brampton, we’re ready to work with Burlington businesses. Our skilled trades campus is one of the best equipped in the country and it’s just a short drive down the 403.

We can also bring the training to you. We also offer customized corporate training through Mohawk College Enterprise. The City of Burlington is among the many clients of our award-winning Future Ready Leadership program. Audie McCarthy, who’s the president of Mohawk College Enterprise, is with us this morning if you want to find out more about training and development solutions for your workforce.

And I want to highlight one other way that we can help grow Burlington businesses. The Agency at Mohawk’s McKeil School of Business brings together our marketing, advertising, graphic design and public relations students. Under supervision of industry-experienced faculty, our students work on campaigns for start-ups, non-profits and community groups. Every year, we work with about two dozen clients. Our clients get agency-calibre work and our students gain invaluable experience.

We’ve also been talking with the team at Burlington Economic Development.

Another Burlington Day at our Fennell campus is in the works for early 2017.

We’re planning to take our international students on a bus tour and job crawl through Burlington. We currently have 2,000 international students from more than 70 countries. These students bring global perspective to our college. On Thursday, I’ll be announcing Mohawk’s plans for persuading more of our international students to live and work here after they graduate.

And we’re also planning breakfast sessions and lunch and learns for Burlington companies interested in digital health, additive manufacturing, environmental sustainability, logistics and transportation.

Of course, you don’t have to wait. Mohawk is always open for business and ready to partner.

Collaboration and partnerships are a priority in our new strategic plan.

We have more than a thousand partners. Currently many are here in Burlington. We value every partnership.

We want to broaden and deepen collaborations for the benefit of our students, our partners and the communities we serve.

We’ll do that by staying responsive and relevant.

For Burlington companies, that means working together on applied research projects.

Putting our students to work through co-ops, capstone projects and advertising campaigns.

Closing the growing skills gap with Mohawk apprentices and the next generation of skilled tradespeople.

Delivering customized training.

And continuing to transform our students into future-ready Mohawk graduates.

As Canada’s best mid-size city, you’ll attract more than your share of highly skilled Mohawk graduates.

Graduates who will help Burlington businesses grow and attract new companies, new investments and new jobs.

Thank you to all the Burlington companies that are putting our students and graduates to work.

And to the companies that are interested in doing the same,  Mohawk is open for business and ready to partner.

We have information available at the back of the room and my team and I would be happy to answer some questions now and after the AGM.

Thank you.”





Mohawk College raises $57,956 for the United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton Reply


united wayThanks to everyone who supported this year’s United Way campaign. Together, we raised $57,956 to support the community-building work of the United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton and their member agencies.

Over the last four years, Mohawk students, faculty and staff have donated more than $233,000 to the United Way.

I want to thank this year’s campaign co-chairs Rochelle Reid and Lori Koziol and our United Way volunteer team of:

  • Anne Neziol
  • Jenn Horwath
  • Katherine McCurdy
  • Debra Pearson
  • Karen Pashleigh
  • Christine Sheldrake
  • Felicia Caggiano
  • Shaunna Kaminsky
  • Zoe Johnson
  • Carol Mushing
  • Theresa Bain
  • Dusty Noble
  • Elyse Pipitone
  • Troy Heath
  • Corinne Ethier
  • Frances Lima
  • Marylisa Forsyth
  • Lisa Fitzpatrick
  • Sean Coffey
  • Michelle Ball
  • Luke Baylis, and
  • Eryka Kaminsky

Special thanks to four staff who went above and beyond for the United Way – Debra Pearson for her work on the wine elimination draw and the introduction of the United Way leaves, Corinne Ethier for her work on the online auction, Marylisa Forsyth for setting up online donations and Anne Neziol who served as campaign representative for Stoney Creek.

Mohawk College congratulates Government of Canada for investing in students Reply

The Government of Canada’s 2016-17 budget is good news for students and post-secondary education.

The budget, which was released on Tuesday, announced investments that align with the strategic priorities of our college. Like the Government of Canada, Mohawk is committed to putting a college education within reach of even more students and working with even more college partners to transform our students into future ready graduates.

The Government of Canada will be investing $2 billion over three years for a new Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment fund to modernize on-campus research, commercialization and training facilities and an additional $95 million per year to granting councils (Canada Institute for Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Research Support Fund) to further support applied research at colleges.

Mohawk ranks among the top 20 colleges in Canada for applied research activity, with the goal of being among the top 10 by 2021. Hundreds of students, faculty and staff are working with private, public and non-profit sector partners on applied research projects in electronic and mobile health, additive manufacturing / 3D printing and smart grids, power quality and distributed generation.

Applied research projects give our students unique and invaluable experiences in bringing innovative solutions to market with our college partners.

The Government of Canada also announced new investments in co-operative education, post-secondary education grants and Indigenous education. Mohawk is currently working with Aboriginal leaders, universities and school boards to develop the region’s first Indigenous Education Plan.



Mohawk College student Amanda McManus recognized with provincial co-op honours Reply

Amanda_Mcmanus (1)

Amanda McManus is the 2015 Education at Work Ontario college co-op student of the year.

The award is presented annually to one Ontario college and one university student who have showcased exceptional job achievement, extra-curricular involvement, academic achievement and a strong contribution to co-operative education.

Amanda is a proud parent, passionate mental health advocate, and honours student in our Health, Wellness, and Fitness co-op diploma program. For her co-op work term, Amanda served as a Lifestyle team member and fitness consultant with the Health Systems Group at ArcelorMittal Dofasco. Drawing from her experience volunteering with Mohawk College’s Mental Health in Motion Team, Amanda worked as a key member of the Lifestyle team which had exceptional achievements in the area of Mental Health at work.

Last summer, Amanda and her fiancé walked more than 400 km from Toronto to Parliament Hill to raise awareness for mental health initiatives and overall well-being.

Congratulations to Amanda and thank you to ArcelorMittal Dofasco for continuing to offer outstanding co-op work terms to our students.

Shining a spotlight on Mohawk’s amazing faculty and staff Reply

If you haven’t already, check out the Spotlight on profile series that have been featured on our Mohawk News Desk site. The weekly series has been shining a spotlight on faculty and staff who are making a difference at the college and in the community.

The profiles are also a great way to learn about some of the exciting work that is being done at Mohawk in areas such as applied research, international and Indigenous education, and simulated learning.

There are more profiles to come, but if you know someone who you think would be a good person to feature, please let us know.

All profiles can found on, or you can link to the individual profiles below:

Spotlight on: Kaela Millar
Spotlight on: Joe Duda
Spotlight on: Ron Mclester
Spotlight on: Michelle Turan
Spotlight on: Kurt Muller
Spotlight on: Lousia Drost
Spotlight on: Jim Vanderveken
Spotlight on: Alan Griffiths

From Friendly to Welcoming: Insights from the 2015 InterAct Summit Reply

Last October, Mohawk hosted the InterAct Summit where we welcomed close to 300 attendees, delegates and speakers to our Fennell campus.  Over the two-day event, strategies for promoting growth through immigration were examined, challenged and advanced.

The Summit was part of Mohawk’s Welcoming Communities initiative. We will be using the ideas discussed at the Summit to develop our plan to make Mohawk a more welcoming place for newcomers.

We invite you to do the same, and to make it easier for you we’ve created a document that summarizes the key findings and ideas that were discussed at the summit.  You can view the document here or download it here. We’ve also posted the presentations from the Summit to the InterAct site. You can download the presentations here.

MEDIA RELEASE: Mohawk College applauds Government of Ontario for investing in students Reply

HAMILTON (Feb. 25, 2016) – The Government of Ontario’s commitment to transform student assistance will put a Mohawk College education within reach of more young people in the community, says President Ron McKerlie.

“This is a good news budget for young people, their families and the communities we serve,” says McKerlie about the 2016 Ontario budget. “More of our students will graduate future-ready and debt-free.”

The Government of Ontario announced more than 50 per cent of young people from families with incomes of $83,000 or less will receive grants that are greater than the cost of average tuition. For students from families with incomes of less than $50,000, average tuition will be free.

In 2014-15, nearly 6,200 Mohawk students received $54.6 million in grants and loans through the Ontario Student Assistance Program. An additional 1,078 students received $3.7 million through the Province’s 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant. “Many of our students depend on tuition assistance to finance their education,” said McKerlie.

Mohawk launched an access project in 2010 to increase post-secondary participation rates among young people from priority neighbourhoods. “For many students and their families, the cost of education is a major issue. The Province has removed that barrier for many of those families and Mohawk is ready to deliver a quality education to the students who will build Ontario up.”

McKerlie also said the Province’s investment of $20 million over three years for college-based applied research projects is good news for students and Mohawk’s industry partners.

Mohawk currently ranks among the top 20 colleges in Canada for applied research activity, with hundreds of students working with dozens of private, public and nonprofit sector partners on mobile and electronic health, additive manufacturing and smart energy projects.

“Applied research projects give our students invaluable real-world experience and help our partners bring innovative solutions to market.  The Province’s investment will help Mohawk keep up with growing demand from our partners and strengthen our role in driving innovation and building prosperity.”

Mohawk College educates and serves 30,000 full-time, part-time and apprenticeship students from three campuses in Hamilton, Ontario. For the past five years, Mohawk has ranked first among colleges in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for overall student satisfaction and has been named one of the Canada’s greenest employers and one of the region’s top employers for three consecutive years.

For more information, contact:

Jay Robb, Director of Communications,, 905.979.8893


Mohawk College launches mentorship program for faculty and staff Reply


mentorFuture Ready. Learning for Life is our vision for Mohawk College.

One of the ways we’re making our vision a reality for faculty and staff is by introducing a formal mentorship program.

Over the course of my career, I’ve had the great fortune to learn from outstanding mentors and serve as mentor to others.  It’s an incredibly powerful way to share knowledge and experiences and accelerate your professional development.

We’re looking for faculty, support and administrative staff from across the college to take part in a year-long pilot project.  Ideally, we’ll have up to 15 mentors and 30 mentees who will meet at least once a month, with support from our Human Resources department.

You’ll find more information posted here about Mohawk’s new mentorship program, including an application form.

Across-the-board improvements on Mohawk College’s employee engagement survey results Reply

survey scoresFour out of five faculty and staff would recommend Mohawk as a place to work and learn to their relatives and friends.

These are among the results from our employee engagement survey administered last October by CCI Research with a response rate of 65 per cent.

There were across-the-board improvements on all engagement scores compared to our 2013 survey. Among the statements posting double-digit gains were “Mohawk does a good job of valuing diversity” and “Mohawk cares for the communities that we serve”.

College-wide, the following statements had the strongest agreement from faculty and staff:

  • My work contributes to the success of our students
  • I believe my work contributes to the success of Mohawk’s strategic priorities
  • I know how my work contributes to accomplishing my department’s or school’s goals.
  • I am proud to say that I work at Mohawk.
  • Proper measures are taken to ensure my physical safety at work and in the surrounding area.

While the survey results are impressive, there’s always room to improve. The following statements had the lowest scores:

  • Mohawk does a good job at managing employees who are underperforming to help them improve.
  • At Mohawk, superior performance is recognized and rewarded.
  • At Mohawk, information and knowledge are shared openly, honestly and in a timely manner.
  • Mohawk is quick to recognize a job well done.
  • Senior Management motivates our employees to perform at a high level.
  • At Mohawk, my opinion counts.

We’ve asked every department and program to review their scores and put together action plans that will make our college an even better place to work.