Donation helps Canadian workers affected by COVID-19

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Days after launching a Continuing Studies Emergency Benefit to support workers who have lost their jobs or are facing financial difficulty due to the pandemic, the York University School of Continuing Studies received a $10,000 donation to help an additional seven individuals access continuing studies. The donation was generously provided by Gautham Kolluri, founder and director of CIP Study Abroad, who was moved to support the Continuing Studies Emergency Benefit after first learning about it through the schools launch announcement.

“My family and I moved to Canada many years ago and we are blessed to be here in a safe and welcoming country,” said Kolluri. “Canada welcomed us, and Canadians supported us. This donation towards the emergency benefit is my opportunity to help Canada and Canadians during these stressful times.”

The response to the emergency benefit has been overwhelming, with hundreds of applications from Canadians eager to return to school in order to upskill during this difficult economic time. The emergency benefit is the school’s rapid response to the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will help remove financial barriers that prevent qualified individuals from immediate access to high-quality, accelerated online university credentials.

Kolluri’s donation will add to the original benefit of $25,500 that provides successful applicants with $1,500 toward their School of Continuing Studies certificate tuition.

Tracey Taylor-O’Reilly

“I am deeply moved by Gautham’s generosity and so grateful that we can change the course of another seven peoples’ lives together. The Emergency Benefit was generated by our reaction to news that one million Canadians applied for Employment Insurance and we knew we had to do something quickly,” said Tracey Taylor-O’Reilly, assistant vice-president, Continuing Studies. “People may be feeling helpless but by pursuing a continuing studies program, they will be doing something now that could change their trajectory in just a few short months.”

During difficult economic times, an increasing number of adults turn to university education to help recession-proof their careers. The school’s online certificate programs are designed with industry and tied to high-demand careers. Canadians are facing high unemployment, layoffs and downsizing due to COVID-19, but there are high-demand jobs without people to fill them.

The School of Continuing Studies Emergency Benefit will support Canadians who want to reskill or upskill in high-demand fields, allowing them to stay competitive and seize opportunities during and after the crisis.

“We are living in unprecedented times. Millions of Canadians have lost their jobs and need help. Providing food and financial help is a temporary measure but providing education will help Canadians earn their livelihoods with new career options,” said Kolluri. “This is the time to take courage and step up to help every Canadian. I hope other businesses can come forward and also help.”

Kolluri also participated in the #LetsContinYU public service social media video campaign to explain the reason for his donation and urge others to support continuing studies.

Individuals can still apply to the Continuing Studies Emergency Benefit until April 30. For more information on eligibility criteria and how and where to apply, visit