Manitoba Businesses, Students Get Funding Boost for Work Internships

Small Business Canada

In an effort to broaden employment opportunities, skills development, and innovation in Manitoba, national innovation organization Mitacs and Research Manitoba are advancing their strategic partnership to give local businesses and post-secondary students a boost.

New funding in the amount of $4.8 million over three years has been announced to develop and retain post-secondary talent as part of several initiatives that benefit Manitoba’s research and training eco-system. This new funding will create opportunities for students and postdocs in all disciplines and industry sectors.

The initiative comes in the wake of the April 2 tabling of the province’s 2024 budget —  which prioritizes employment and skills training, local economic growth, and creating more good jobs for Manitobans ­­— and offers the placement of students at local companies and not-for-profit organizations to help advance research and innovation.

Mitacs — which acts as a “matchmaker” connecting businesses with post-secondary talent — is a national not-for-profit organization that fosters innovation and economic growth. Multiplying the impact of federal and provincial funds that help fuel its work, the organization provides half the cost of innovation research and development projects, and has been working with Research Manitoba since 2015 to fund a wide range of initiatives across the province.

One such initiative is the Mitacs Indigenous Pathways program, which provides greater access to opportunities for Indigenous business owners and student researchers by reducing the amount of investment from the host organization for the internships. With funding from Research Manitoba, Mitacs provides 75% of the cost of projects with an Indigenous host organization and/or intern.

“At Mitacs, we know that post-secondary students who have completed a Mitacs internship in Manitoba are more likely to stay in Manitoba after they graduate,” said John Hepburn, CEO of Mitacs. “Our Manitoba-based Mitacs advisors help companies across the province attract, develop, and retain top talent, while providing post-secondary students with sharpened skills, valuable practical work experience, and business contacts.”

At an April 15 launch event in Winnipeg, Hepburn reinforced how local post-secondary institutions are playing a growing role in catalyzing research, innovation and entrepreneurship through collaborations with Mitacs, and giving students experience they can’t get in the classroom, making them more marketable for future jobs.

He explained that experience shows many Mitacs interns transition to full-time careers with their host companies after their internships are completed and become leaders in their fields. Winnipeg-based RTDS Technologies Inc., for example, has placed several Mitacs interns in permanent positions following their successful internships.

Ali Dehkordi, a University of Manitoba graduate with a PhD in Electrical Engineering, for example, is a former Mitacs intern who is now R&D Manager, Power System Modeling at RTDS Technologies.

“During my PhD program, which was supported by RTDS Technologies and Mitacs, I was mentored by world class experts in the area of power system simulation. This unique and invaluable experience not only boosted my career in the power industry, but also allowed me to contribute to Manitoba’s industry and economy,” he said. “Thanks to RTDS Technologies and Mitacs, I fulfilled my goal of making a global impact in the power system sector, witnessing the tangible outcomes of my research.”

More information about Mitacs internships can be found at mitacs.ca.

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