The Business Council of Manitoba’s mission is to make Manitoba a preferred place to live, work and invest through community development and equality of opportunity for all Manitobans.
The Business Council is committed to assist in providing opportunities for Indigenous Manitobans to achieve a post-secondary education and contribute to moving our province forward toward a better future.
The Business Council of Manitoba’s (IEA) Indigenous Education Awards Program was established by the Business Council of Manitoba in 2001. Over the years the program has partnered with the governments of Canada, Manitoba, and The Winnipeg Foundation to provide over 2,600 awards totaling more than $6 million to Indigenous students. The awards consist of a financial contribution to the recipients to assist with the costs of attending a post-secondary educational institution.
Over the years, anecdotal evidence collected by the BCM suggested the Award had a positive impact on the lives of the recipients, but no formal evaluation had ever been undertaken. To address this, the BCM contracted with researchers at the University of Winnipeg to conduct a fulsome review.(Minaker et al., 2021)
The analysis team at the University of Winnipeg conducted a full evaluation of the IEA program in an effort to help answer 5 important evaluation questions:
How “successful” are Award recipients with regards to educational achievement and employment?
What effect did the Award have on the recipients?
How can the Business Council increase the profile of the Indigenous Education Awards Program?
How can the Indigenous Education Award application and awarding process be more efficient?
How can the Indigenous Education Awards Program be enhanced and/or expanded to increase student success?
This evaluation involved a multi-pronged approach, including the following activities:
conducting a survey of previous Award recipients
analysis of post-secondary (PSI) institutional data
a scan of supports for Indigenous students attending Manitoba PSIs
conversations at the University of Winnipeg regarding Award and Sponsorship processes
All evidence demonstrated the award has had a positive impact on the lives of the recipients. Survey responses were overwhelmingly positive. Most respondents indicated the award reduced their financial stress, boosted their confidence and self-esteem, and contributed to their success in completing their education. Almost all (95.8%) of the survey respondents had either earned a degree, diploma, or certificate or were working towards one. Among the graduates, most were currently employed in a job that aligned well with their field of study. Almost all, (99.3%) found employment within a year of graduation and, in fact, more than half found employment even before graduating. Almost everyone indicated their post-secondary studies were helpful in securing employment.
The analysis of the PSI student data revealed that Indigenous students who received the Award were substantially more likely to graduate than Indigenous students who did not receive the award; this held for both university and college students. Moreover, almost all students who received the award successfully completed credits in the year they received the Award. Additionally, a significantly higher proportion of award recipients received other awards and financial support compared to Indigenous students who did not receive the Award.
Although the Business Council finds the results of the review an affirmation of the ongoing success of their Indigenous Education Awards, we are continually looking to improve the experience and value of the program to award recipients. Based on recommendations from this report, many suggested actions to enhance the success of the Indigenous Education Awards Program have already been implemented to ensure that program goals are met for 2022. Further information on the changes will be forthcoming once finalized.
The Business Council of Manitoba believes that education is an important component in personal development and provides an opportunity for individuals to become leaders and role models in our communities.
Every dollar donated to our Indigenous Education Awards goes directly to support students to attend one of the recognized post-secondary educational institutions in Manitoba and pursue the career goals of their choice.
The Business Council of Manitoba wishes to extend its warmest gratitude to the University of Winnipeg and its research team. We want to publicly recognize them for generously donating their review fees back into the program.
Minaker, C., Rivers, A., & Hinds, A. (2021, August). Building on Success – A Review of the Business Council of Manitoba’s Indigenous Education Award Program. The University of Winnipeg.