Nurturing Local Talent for a Brighter Future
Partner Services, driven by a vision of nurturing and expanding our connections with post-secondary institutions, enthusiastically supports City departments and the development of our local young talent. Through collaborative efforts with Mitacs, a non-profit national research organization and the establishment of the City Scholars program, the City of Lethbridge is committed to fostering partnership excellence and collaborating with our promising post-secondary graduates.
Mitacs acts as the bridge between Canadian industries, including municipalities, and post-secondary institutions. Their mission revolves around providing grants and funding for research-based initiatives, effectively linking the academic realm with real-world applications. In September, the City contributed $37,500 to the University of Lethbridge, which Mitacs matched, supporting two of their full-time interns to lend support to Partner Services research initiatives. The University of Lethbridge additionally shared a number of its own resources, including access to faculty expertise, research guidance, and state-of-the-art facilities and technology.
Amy Cran and Taylor Manns, the two Mitacs Research Interns, are seeking to better understand current and future labour market challenges faced by the City of Lethbridge, and our community more broadly.
Taylor, a 4th year Urban and Regional Studies Major shares, “I have learned a great deal about myself in the workplace and as a professional in my position as a Mitacs Research Intern. I have been able to apply my academic knowledge and skills to address research topics regarding labour market change and sustainability within Lethbridge”
Amy and Taylor have moreover played a pivotal role in shaping the City Scholars program, building a community of practice to support other post-secondary students currently working on research projects with the City, on their path to success.
“Being a Mitacs Research Intern has provided me with a unique opportunity to translate the research skills I developed over the course of my undergraduate degree, within the public sector,” says Amy, a recent University of Lethbridge graduate from the Anthropology program. “In addition, I have been able to share my learnings and experience with my peers participating in the City Scholars program.”
What is the City Scholars Program, you ask? City Scholars is a formal recognition of the partnership between the City of Lethbridge and post-secondary institutions. It paves the way for innovative research, data analysis, and expertise-sharing that addresses the unique challenges and opportunities faced by the City.
“Through this program, the City leverages access to research and expertise that helps us to better understand the needs of our diverse community, the impacts of local and global changes, and ultimately design and deliver high-quality planning, programs, and services to our community,” says Perry Stein, Partner Services Manager
The benefits for students and post-secondary institutions are substantial. This initiative bridges the gap between academic knowledge and career development, enabling students to apply their learnings in a research-based, public sector setting. It offers access to professional and academic mentorship, networking opportunities with potential employers, and a stronger understanding of municipal governance.
"The City Scholars program empowers students to gain practical experience and apply their education and research skills in the working world. The program was designed to create significant opportunities for experiential learning, career development, mentorship, and cohort development — these are things we know enhance employability upon graduation,” says Dr. Lars Hallstrom, Director of the Prentice Institute at the University of Lethbridge.
At present, 11 dedicated students are involved, including those working as Mitacs-funded interns, applied studies through the University of Lethbridge, and an internship student from SAIT. This is in addition to multiple on-going City-focused projects being developed and delivered in classroom settings at both the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College. Partner Services is demonstrating that the City of Lethbridge isn't just a potential employer but an integral part of nurturing and retaining young talent within our community, and that the talent and expertise that exists within our local institutions can benefit our shared community.
The work accomplished thus far is merely the beginning, with limitless opportunities ahead. If you have questions, believe your department has an upcoming research need or could support a student, or simply want to learn more, don't hesitate to reach out to Perry. Together, we are shaping a brighter future for our city.