Recognized as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 1, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Algonquin College of Applied Arts & Technology was selected as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2021):
- Algonquin College participates in the Not Myself Today campaign and offers a mental health practitioner benefit of up to $2,000 as part of its health benefits plan -- the college also developed a "Dog Squad" program, allowing employees to bring their dogs to campus to help alleviate student and employee stress
- Algonquin College encourages employees to prepare for the future with retirement planning assistance and a defined benefit pension plan -- the college also offers phased-in work hours to help employees who are nearing retirement transition
- Algonquin College provides exceptional family-friendly benefits, including a full year of paid leave for mothers and parental leave top-up ranging between 35 to 37 weeks for fathers and adoptive parents -- the college also offers the option to extend their parental leave into an unpaid leave of absence and the convenience of onsite child care upon their return
Algonquin College is an inclusive place to grow
Diane McCutcheon relishes being a model example of the commitment of Algonquin College of Applied Arts & Technology to personal growth and professional development. McCutcheon joined the college more than three decades ago as a part-time support worker in the Registrar’s Office. Now, one diploma and several credentials later, she is its vice president, human resources.
“Algonquin truly helps its people reach their potential,” McCutcheon says. “I have experienced that first hand.”
With the college’s backing, both financial and personal, McCutcheon earned Algonquin’s three-year diploma in business administration over five years, holding down a full-time job throughout. “I grew as Algonquin grew,” she says.
Besides encouraging her career path, McCutcheon says, Algonquin earned her loyalty by creating an environment that fosters inclusion and a sense of belonging. “Everyone here can be their true self,” she says. “First, I stayed for the professional opportunities, later because I felt I really belong here. Algonquin’s values are my values.”
Algonquin events manager Sophia Bouris also started in a support staff role. Already equipped with an Algonquin certificate in events planning, she obtained a Royal Roads University MA in leadership with the College’s tuition support. Says Bouris: “Algonquin believes in you, supports you and wants you to grow.”
When she joined the college a decade ago, Bouris thought she might remain for only a few months while she continued to manage her personal events management business. “But I stayed because there is so much opportunity here, and the people are super supportive,” she says.
Bouris adds: “An organization can have all the right structures in place – nice offices, good wages and competitive benefits – but if it doesn’t have great people, it will fail. The people here genuinely want you to succeed. And the college’s mix of academics and industry professionals provides a stimulating environment where everyone is learning.”
When COVID-19 hit, Bouris, McCutcheon and the majority of employees left the 22-building main campus in Ottawa’s west end to work at home. The college helped staff transition their programs and services online and created detailed health and safety plans for those employees required on campus. Communications and employee events were increased so everyone remained connected. “The support was overwhelming,” says Bouris.
Despite the pandemic, it’s full steam ahead for one college program that McCutcheon is particularly proud of – a groundbreaking three-year equity, diversity and inclusion strategy. “Inclusivity and caring are essential elements of our culture,” she says. “We want to build a house where everyone feels at home.”