A donation of more than $225,000 from Canada Life to York University will create 36 internship opportunities within community agencies for students in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS).
The donation, which will be granted over three years, supports Community Agency Student Internships (CASI), a unique partnership that enables smaller community agencies to provide experiential educational internship opportunities to students.
This funding helps LA&PS create and expand its internship awards, which provide paid, work-integrated learning opportunities for students. Internships within a range of not-for-profit partners support the pillars of the Faculty, including social and economic justice, equity, inclusion and Indigenous rights.
“Education helps people grow and discover opportunities, and internships are a great way for students to gain valuable work experience and make a positive community impact through the non-profit agencies with which they’re placed,” said Jeff Macoun, president and chief operating officer of Canada Life. “Canada Life is proud to be the founding supporter of the CASI program. By working collaboratively with the University and non-profit agencies, we can empower students to help themselves, and their communities, grow stronger together.”
The first crop of students has already begun placements. Organizations that have already benefited from hosting York student interns this year include the Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women, YWCA Toronto and Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.
This project aligns with both the University’s and the company’s priorities in the post-secondary sector, especially as it relates to employability and skills development.
“I’m very grateful to Canada Life for their generous contribution,” said J.J. McMurtry, interim dean of LA&PS. “Experiential education is increasingly important to our students, and now dozens more will have the opportunity to further their learning and gain valuable skills through Canada Life’s gift.”
Internships within LA&PS are established and evaluated under the portfolio of Narda Razack, associate dean of global and community engagement.
“Placements fulfill the broader goals of the University,” she said. “Experiential education is transformative. Our students walk away from these internships with a toolkit of valuable skills, important new connections and vital work experience.”