Hello CACEE Friends,
Welcome to the 2020-2021 academic year… a year unlike any other.
I was very honoured to become the President of CACEE in June 2020 having spent three years now as part of the Board of Directors. This is an amazing Association with so many dedicated professionals in the education and employer sectors from Coast to Coast to Coast. We had a busy summer delivering more opportunities to connect, our Educator Certificate Series, a National Roundtable, and planned out our 2020 Virtual National Conference. It is actually hard to believe the summer has flown by so fast and the virtual school year has started. Although many of us are not able to travel right now, I hope you enjoyed some down time this summer with family and friends.
One of the skills we challenge our ultimate stakeholders, our youth, in developing is ADAPTABILITY, a skill we have all been tested on in 2020. The early indications of our industry’s ability to adapt has been nothing short of incredible. For educators, it means moving all career and WIL services online, for faculty it means delivering curriculum online, often to individuals all over the world. Zoom, Webex, Teams have all been our friends this year and if you’re weren’t a tech expert before, you must be now! For employers this year has brought significant workforce planning challenges, the pressure to continue offering meaningful work assignments so students can continue to have excellent learning opportunities, all while managing the unfortunate reality that some may face reductions in hours or outright job losses. Students are feeling the stress of an uncertain labour market, all while trying to cope and adapt to the reality they will not physically be with their cohorts this year. Despite all these challenges and successes, we also know we aren’t anywhere near being past the effects of the pandemic.
While no one really knows what the future will bring us, we do know it will look and feel different than what we were used to. Many changes will likely be permanent. One of the phrases that has become popular in the past six months is the term “new normal”. Well, we aren’t there yet.
We only have the “now normal”.
So, as we move through the coming academic year, let’s remember that adaptability will be our biggest asset. There is no blueprint, no playbook directing us how to manage through the effects of a pandemic. This year will require us to embrace change more than any other year so let’s be patient, kind, understanding, and creative. Let’s continue to collaborate, let’s find ways to support each other, and let’s always remember our common goal is to help our youth make the successful transition from the classroom to the workplace. Career events like fairs and information sessions will be different, networking will be done virtually rather than in person, and we will all experience increases in demands of our time through meeting requests and LinkedIn outreach. We will experience all of this while also managing, and sometimes struggling with our own personal ability to successfully move through the real effects of COVID-19. Many of us are feeling anxious and uncertain and sometimes not confident in the work we are doing. Everyone needs support through this and the CACEE network has always excelled at providing a helping hand and a pick-me-up when needed. So, let’s lean on each other.
Myself, the entire CACEE Board of Directors, in partnership with all members, are committed to making this an outstanding year for all stakeholders. In June, we laid out our vision for the coming fiscal year and I am pleased to report we are well underway in delivering on our strategic goals and directives for the year. We committed our focus to the following:
Transition from School to Work - Improving student preparedness to make the transition from the classroom to the workplace. Collaboration between educators and employers will never be more important in facilitating these improvements.
Expanding Our Ecosystem and Impact - Growing our Community… new educators are always welcome, but we need more employers to be part of the conversation too. This is an area of challenge for CACEE and I urge you to engage with those whose voices should be part of our Association.
Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability - our times are uncertain and will remain so for the foreseeable future, we need to make prudent choices that provide flexibility and opportunity to deliver you maximum value for your membership.
Partnerships and Strategic Alignment - if our current times are teaching us anything, it’s that we are all in this together. We need to emphasize and leverage our partnerships for organizational growth.
We as an Association will remain committed and focused on these goals while maintaining our agility and recognizing potential needs to pivot and react to future challenges the pandemic will bring us. You may have noticed last year we began using a new logo depicting three people locked in arms. Those three people represent educators, employers, and students. It is this spirit of unity and collaboration that will enable our success.
As we deliver more and new opportunities to connect and engage, we look forward to speaking with you throughout the coming year… I wish you all continued health and wellness.