Six Na­tions Poly launch­ing a unique tech­nol­ogy academy

‘We’re hop­ing the grads will be more pre­pared for the job mar­ket’

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - NI­COLE O’REILLY nor­eilly@thes­pec.com 905-526-3199 | @Ni­coleatTheSpec

Six Na­tions Polytech­nic is launch­ing an in­no­va­tive academy that ex­pects to of­fer stu­dents the abil­ity to earn high school and col­lege diplo­mas fo­cused on science, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing, arts and math.

The STEAM Academy will be based out of the school’s Brant­ford cam­pus on El­gin Street and is ac­cept­ing 50 Grade 9 stu­dents to start in Septem­ber.

Grad­u­ates of the free six-year pro­gram will leave with a high school diploma and are ex­pected to earn a soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing tech­ni­cian diploma from Mo­hawk Col­lege.

“It’s a unique setup,” said the school’s prin­ci­pal, Brian Quist­berg. “We’re hop­ing the grads here will be more pre­pared for the job mar­ket.”

He noted that up to 70 per cent of the jobs in the fu­ture in Canada will need STEAM-based ex­per­tise.

For some grad­u­ates, the pro­gram could be a step­ping-stone to fur­ther higher ed­u­ca­tion and for oth­ers, they may be able to go di­rectly into the work­force.

“We’re quite ex­cited ... there is not another school like it here,” Quist­berg said.

The team is work­ing on form­ing the pro­gram, which will in­clude provin­cially man­dated high school cur­ricu­lum and, start­ing in Grade 10, col­lege cour­ses each year.

Classes are ex­pected to be “very hands-on and in­ter­ac­tive,” with men­tor­ship from in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als.

Mo­hawk Col­lege is a long-stand­ing part­ner of Six Na­tions Polytech­nic, of­fer­ing a num­ber of joint pro­grams.

Paul Arm­strong, vice-pres­i­dent aca­demic, said Mo­hawk has de­vel­oped an out­line of the cur­ricu­lum for the STEAM pro­gram and is work­ing through the ap­proval process with its board of gov­er­nors and the prov­ince.

It’s ex­pected to be fi­nal­ized in a cou­ple of months.

“Philo­soph­i­cally, it’s a great op­por­tu­nity and, philo­soph­i­cally, we love the model,” Arm­strong said.

Mo­hawk is a firm be­liever in “dual credit” pro­grams, which al­low for high school and col­lege to­gether, and get­ting more young peo­ple in­ter­ested in science, en­gi­neer­ing and tech­nol­ogy, he added.

The pro­gram is funded through a mix of pub­lic and pri­vate dol­lars and is open to stu­dents of all back­grounds.

The school is ar­rang­ing bus trans­porta­tion for stu­dents from Oh­sweken.

Quist­berg has al­ready vis­ited some Grade 8 classes in Six Na­tions of the Grand River and a skilled­trades jobs event in Brant­ford.

For the first year, en­rol­ment is first-come first-served, but that may change in fu­ture years as the pro­gram is an­tic­i­pated to grow to up to 75 stu­dents a year and 450 stu­dents in to­tal.

To reg­is­ter, call 226-493-1234 or email aaron.hobbs@snpoly­tech­nic.com or brian.quist­berg@snpoly­tech­nic.com.

The academy is also host­ing a one-day camp for youth 12 and up who are in­ter­ested in science, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing, arts and math on June 3.

Call the school to reg­is­ter.

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