MPP for Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff (left) tours the labs at Niagara College’s Rankin Technology Centre in Welland on Friday, March 31, 2023. MPP Oosterhoff is pictured alongside Mechanical Engineering Technology professor and program coordinator Rick Baldin. Photo credit: Niagara College
The provincial government is investing in critical teaching technology at Niagara’s two postsecondary institutes.
At an announcement in Welland on Friday, MPP for Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff revealed that the province is providing nearly $1 million from the College Equipment and Renewal Fund and Training Equipment and Renewal Fund to Niagara College and Brock University to help the schools purchase and upgrade instructional tools.
“This support will ensure students at Niagara College and Brock University have access to the latest instructional tools and equipment to meet business and industry standards,” said MPP Oosterhoff, speaking on behalf of the Ford government.
“By investing in the renewal and modernization of postsecondary infrastructure, our government is supporting the growth of the regional economy right here in Niagara and ensuring local students get the knowledge and skills they need to get good-paying jobs.”
Niagara College is matching the province’s $825,000 CERF contribution to “future proof” its technology programs and acquire a wide range of equipment at its Welland Campus, including industry-standard programmable logic controller (PLC) workstations, process automation stations, mechatronics workstations, and mixed-reality headsets.
The new technology will benefit students in a broad range of fields including electrical, electronics, and mechanical engineering, and renewable energies.
“Manufacturing is progressing rapidly to Industry 4.0 – automation with intelligence,” said Mechanical Engineering Technology professor and program coordinator Rick Baldin.
“This investment in programming, robotics, automation, and machine design will provide our students with more hands-on industrial equipment to support the experiential learning activities within the College.”
Combined with an internal top-up of over $262,000, Brock University is using the province’s $174,800 contribution to upgrade learning technology for its nursing program.
The funds will be used to purchase high-fidelity simulators and software, a code blue simulation bundle, a virtual reality simulation package, and a bar code medication administration system for experiential learning and research.
“This investment will directly impact students using our Nursing Simulation Labs,” said Dean of Brock’s Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Peter Tiidus.
“The labs, and cutting-edge technology found within them, provide a safe learning environment for students to master life-saving skills. The lifelike simulations prepare students for how to analyze and respond to patients and situations they will encounter in the real world.”
Ontario is investing $209 million in 2022-23 to help publicly assisted colleges and universities provide a modern and safe learning environment for students, faculty, and staff. In all, $20 million will be provided through the College Equipment and Renewal Fund. $10 million will be provided through the Training Equipment and Renewal Fund.
As part of both funding programs, matching contributions from institutions and/or third parties are required.
“Sincere thanks to the provincial government for supporting our local post-secondary institutions,” said Mayor of Welland Frank Campion, who was in attendance for the announcement last week.
“Students at Brock University and Niagara College will benefit greatly from these investments which in turn will assist them as they launch their chosen careers.”