Empowering communities through education

 By John Jonaid, 1st semester Journalism student 

Hamilton is facing a crisis as the number of skilled-in-demand workers in the market is declining. To respond to this crisis, Mohawk College has taken an ambitious step with the launch of Challenge 2025. This five-year workforce-recovery initiative addresses the interconnected issues of poverty, social exclusion, under-education, labour shortages and unemployment in the Greater Hamilton Area and across the country.

The key to this initiative is education and training. In 2015, Mohawk College initiated City School in order to provide free training in the community, with its first classes held at the Eva Rothwell Centre in North Hamilton. It has since proven as catalyst for workforce re-engagement. This innovative program now delivers post-secondary education and employment pathways training directly to the people that need it most through community-based and mobile classrooms that travel to neighborhoods across the Greater Hamilton Area.

Challenge 2025 is strengthening the City School by Mohawk program with additional support from community and industry partners. This initiative is being developed and administered by Mohawk College employees, with support of a stewardship committee of community leaders, representatives, and residents.

This initiative aims to partner with 100 regional employers to deliver rapid, demand-led training that closes workforce gaps and provides employers with skilled workers to support their resource needs. In addition, Mohawk College is partnering with other community colleges across Canada to expand the City School by Mohawk model in different regions of the country.

One of the critical components of Challenge 2025 is the creation of the Collective Impact Toolkit. This comprehensive guide is designed for businesses and organizations to impact their communities positively.

The toolkit provides businesses with a step-by-step plan to engage with their community, create better opportunities for young people and support their professional development. The results of this effort are remarkable, as businesses that implement the Collective Impact Toolkit not only make a positive impact on the community but also notice a substantial growth in their business. 

All partners in Challenge 2025 are committed to providing support to overcome structural and systemic barriers which are limiting labour market participation currently as Lorna Somers, Executive Director, at the Mohawk College Foundation says, “The success of Challenge 2025 is due to the partnership of donors, alumni champions, and local business and industry. Such a partnership supports the success of our students, builds a culture of philanthropy, and ensures prosperity for our community. The Mohawk College Foundation and its donors are proud to invest in future ready education.”

Mohawk College is building a better future for everyone by directly delivering education and training to the communities that most need it, learn more about Challenge 2025.