Preparing students for the workforce
Wikkerink participates in panel discussion at Bay Area Economic Summit
2 min. read
June 3, 2015

Redeemer University College is active in many areas of community life in the greater Hamilton area. One of those has been its involvement with the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. This year, Redeemer once again was a sponsor of, and a participant in, the Bay Area Economic Summit (BAES).

Previously known as the Hamilton Economic Summit, the BAES was a joint venture with the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. The Summit works to foster business development opportunities for its members by enhancing the quality of life in their communities. It included speakers such as Helmut Pastrick, Chief Economist for Central Credit Union, the Mayors of Burlington and Hamilton, and the Honourable Charles Sousa, Ontario’s Minister of Finance.

The Summit recognized that one of the goals of economic development is to build thriving communities through a healthy local economy, and explored that relationship in three key areas of the local economy: Life Sciences, Transportation and Goods Movement, and Colleges and Universities. As part of the latter, Richard Wikkerink, Redeemer’s Associate Provost, Co-Curriculum and Student Development, participated, with Mohawk College and McMaster University in a panel discussion on College and Universities: Open for Business.

Richard was joined on the panel by Jane Green, VP Finance of Gelderman Landscape. Geldermans have partnered with Redeemer by hiring business students through Redeemer’s Co-Operative Education program. Richard’s presentation focused on the opportunities that experiential education presents for employers and students through community-engaged learning, internships, and co-op programs that provide students with an opportunity to extend their classroom learning into the workplace. Another benefit for students – Gelderman has hired one of their co-op placements after he graduated.

“To be prepared for the workforce in the 21st century,” notes Wikkerink, “university graduates need more than knowledge of their discipline. In every program at Redeemer, we prepare students to think critically, communicate effectively, be creative and work collaboratively. We also develop those “soft” but essential social and interpersonal interaction skills that are necessary for them to be leaders in the workplace and other communities.”

Learn more about Redeemer’s experiential learning programs.

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