By Sharon Aschaiek
The Casa Loma campus of George Brown College was buzzing with brilliance last week as high school students presented their technological prowess to the public.
Students from the Toronto District School Board interested in careers in construction, manufacturing, biotechnology and hi-tech industries had the opportunity to develop their skills in these areas through the college's annual Technology in the City event. They then applied their knowledge to mechanical engineering inventions, which were judged by faculty and members of the media.
As a media judge for the sheet metal competition, my job was to rate seven metal buckets -- the final products of more than 12 hours of work by one group of local high school students. While far from being a sheet metal expert, I know good work when I see it.
"They've all done a really good job," said George Brown faculty member Jim Loftus, who, thankfully, guided me through the judging process.
The winner of the event, a Grade 10 female student, won the grand prize of one year's tuition toward the program of her choice at the college.
Other exhibits at the event featured such innovations as a time-controlled plant-watering system, a cat door with motion sensory detection that will allow only a homeowner's cat in and out, and an electric wheelchair with reclining back support that lifts its user to bed level and supports the climb into bed.
The college also unveiled its $9-million semiconductor processing facility to an audience of private and government partners.
Technology in the City is a collaboration between technology employers, the public sector and the Toronto District School Board that aims to prepare skilled technical workers for Southern Ontario's technology, manufacturing, health-care and construction industries.
This new laboratory was made possible through a $3.5-million contribution from the Ministry of Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation Strategic Skills Investment program, contributions from 16 corporate partners and revenue generated by centre training activities.
This state-of-the-art facility is the only one of its kind in an educational institution in Canada.
Technology in the City provides a forum for corporate and government partners to see the results of their investments and celebrate the achievements of current and prospective GBC students.
The event features seven skills competitions designed to introduce students from the Toronto District School Board to the technology sectors that drive the economy of the region. Industry exhibits, lab demonstrations and facility tours complete the full day of activities.
"These events recognize the strong commitment of employers and the government to develop a qualified and flexible work force capable of meeting industry's needs today and in the future," said GBC president Frank Sorochinsky. "George Brown College, the Toronto District School Board and industry representatives are introducing graduating high school students to the wealth of career opportunities in technology."
"George Brown College is uniquely positioned within industry -- graduates can go directly from the classroom one week to a high impact position within a week. That's an impressive transition," says Jeffrey Timms of Siemens Dematic Electronic Assembly Systems.
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