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College earns grant to create hub for equity and diversity

Timmins-based programming will help companies, organizations reach diversity goals
Dr. Audrey Penner, president of Northern College

Companies and institutions throughout the region will be able to learn about equity, inclusion and diversity through Northern College.

The college has received a $250,000 grant to create a hub centred on inclusivity and equity, and how to achieve those goals.

The grant is from Colleges and Institutes of Canada (ICCan) with Northern College as one of five hubs across the country, including Fanshawe College in London. 

Northern College president Audrey Penner said it's a great boost to the work they’re already doing in the 50/30 challenge. 

“Equity is something we work toward, and there is a lot of work to do, both for us and for the community,” said Penner. “We hope this hub can be a beacon to those who don’t know where to start on that journey.”

The 50/30 challenge sets a goal for companies and institutions to meet a gender parity — meaning 50 per cent of their board should be women or gender non-confirming individuals — and 30 per cent should be Black, Indigenous, from a racialized community, 2SLGBTQIA+ or disabled.

Penner said the gender numbers were not a problem for Northern and they hit the halfway mark on the racial, sexuality and disability part of the challenge. 

“We are in a unique position where our board has already reached the gender goal and gone beyond that,” said Penner. “But we’re still working on the other part of the challenge, about four months ago we were at 15 per cent, so we still have work to do.”

Some of that work involves hiring graduates from their programs who are looking to make Timmins their home permanently and working with the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) to make that happen for some of their international student population.

“It’s such a great thing to see, when these students grow into these roles,” said Penner.

The hub will be open to any company or institution looking to learn more about applied gender, race, sexuality and disability inclusion and equity. 

It is in the early planning stages and Northern is looking to fill the local roles soon.

“Each company or organization will have their own goals and we will have to work with them to meet their needs through this hub,” said Penner. “It’s going to be a lot of work, but well worth it.”

— TimminsToday