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Yellow Friendship BenchesRBC | Mitutoyo Canada and Sandvik Coromant Canada | Gene Haas Foundation

Friendship Benches at Saskatchewan Polytechnic promotes conversations about wellness

Yellow Friendship Benches have been installed at Moose Jaw, Regina and Saskatoon campuses to encourage conversations about mental health

January 29, 2019 – Bright and yellow, these benches have a very specific purpose – to encourage conversations about mental health. Through a special gift provided by the Annie's Friends Foundation established by Dr. Anne Neufeld, former provost and vice-president, Academic for Sask Polytech, Friendships Benches have been installed at Moose Jaw, Saskatoon and Prince Albert campuses.

Tragically, Sam Fiorella was inspired to found The Friendship Bench initiative after the loss of his son, Lucas. At the time, Lucas was a university student and Fiorella and his family were unaware he was suffering with depression. The Friendship Bench was created to help others open up before it’s too late. Regina campus received a Friendship Bench in May 2017.

The Friendship Bench initiative, has set out to install the yellow benches across the country to:

  • Encourage peer-to-peer conversation about mental health among students in order to drive greater awareness of the disease and greater recognition of the symptoms, knowledge of prevention and support services available.
  • Connect students to available on-campus and in-community mental health resources.
  • Educate students and parents about the causes and signs of the various forms of mental illness so students may be more aware of their own mental health and that of their friends.

“The curtain around the stigma of mental health is now being lifted because of events like this and because of the generosity and courage of people like Dr. Anne Neufeld and Sam Fiorella,” says Dr. Larry Rosia, Sask Polytech president and CEO. “At Sask Polytech we believe in the importance of health and wellness supports to assist our students and employees in reaching their full potential. Thank you Dr. Neufeld for your generous donation and Mr. Fiorella for your tireless advocacy efforts.”

“I’ve always been passionate about health and wellness,” says Dr. Anne Neufeld, founder of Annie's Friends Foundation. “Initiatives such as the Friendship Bench encourage students, faculty and staff to find the support they need to be successful in achieving their educational, career and life goals.”

The Friendship Benches are being installed in advance of Bell Let’s Talk day on January 30 to support and encourage students to engage in conversations about mental health.

Annie’s Friends Foundation, founded by Canadian entrepreneur Dr. Anne Neufeld, supports initiatives in health and wellness, education and the arts. The foundation does not accept unsolicited applications. Annie’s Friends Foundation is affiliated with the TD Private Giving Foundation.

The Friendship Bench hopes to end the stigma about mental health and encourages student-to-student conversations about mental health, facilitates peer-to-peer support networks, and funds on-campus mental health programs with the installation of yellow Friendship Bench. To learn more about The Friendship Bench, visit


RBC and Saskatchewan Polytechnic help students prepare for the future of work

RBC Future Launch helps Sask Polytech prepare students for the changing nature of work, build curriculum for the 21st century

November 17, 2017 – Last night during a Saskatchewan Polytechnic Business and Industry Dinner, president and CEO, Dr. Larry Rosia, announced that the RBC Foundation is donating a $100,000 gift as part of RBC Future Launch, a 10-year commitment to unlock the potential of young people and prepare students for the future world of work.
“We at RBC are passionate about helping young Canadians gain access and opportunity to the skills needed for the future world of work,” shares RBC regional president Kim Ulmer. “Through this gift and the great work of Saskatchewan Polytechnic, students and industries across Canada will benefit through an alignment of what is learned and what is required for the evolving needs of workplaces in the new millennium.”
“RBC’s significant gift supports our vision of meeting student and market needs, making us globally recognized as the first-choice polytechnic in Canada,” says Rosia. “This investment will help Sask Polytech prepare our students with skills for the future—skills that will enable them to make complex decisions, think critically and creatively, apply entrepreneurial concepts to their work, and appreciate the dynamics of working within a team structure.”
The workforce of tomorrow will require such skills to meet the challenges and opportunities of rapid change and technological disruption, experts say. The RBC Foundation gift will help Sask Polytech launch a pilot project to create assessment tools and curriculum focused on evaluating and addressing the soft skills needed for the workforce of the future. Many students know their future will be defined by disruption. Sask Polytech’s pilot project will help develop tools for students and employers to retool, rethink and rebuild as the age of disruption takes hold.
More information on RBC Future Launch can be found at

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Mitutoyo Canada and Sandvik Coromant Canada supports Machinist and Innovative Manufacturing programs

Generous donation strengthens manufacturing innovation at Saskatchewan Polytechnic

November 14, 2017 – Thanks to an $82,133 donation from Mitutoyo Canada Inc. and a $75,000 donation from Sandvik Coromant Canada, Saskatchewan Polytechnic is able to take a step in supporting Saskatchewan’s manufacturing sector through new equipment and student awards.
“These two gifts directly impact the heart of Sask Polytech’s mission to educate students and provide skilled and successful graduates,” says Dr. Anne Neufeld, provost and vice-president, Academic. “These gifts by Mitutoyo Canada and Sandvik Coromant Canada are investments in our students, the workforce of tomorrow and Saskatchewan’s manufacturing sector.”
In recognition of the partnership, the Mitutoyo Canada Metrology Lab will be established in the Innovative Manufacturing program area at Regina campus. This lab will provide an opportunity for students to learn on equipment that is used predominantly in the manufacturing industry. Mitutoyo Canada has an interest in supporting the Saskatchewan Polytechnic Innovative Manufacturing program in advancing new technologies by ensuring that the most current Mitutoyo Canada products are available for the program, and technical information and support is readily available.
The Sandvik Coromant Canada donation will provide support directly to students in the Innovative Manufacturing and the Machining programs at the Regina and Saskatoon campuses through student awards and enhanced training opportunities for faculty and alumni. Sandvik Coromant Canada’s donation of carbide tooling will ensure programs have the resources required to efficiently operate the program labs.

Gene Haas Foundation supports Machinist and Innovative Manufacturing Programs

Generous donation strengthens manufacturing innovation at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

May 31, 2017 – Thanks to a $435,000 donation from the Gene Haas Foundation, Saskatchewan Polytechnic is able to take a giant step in supporting Saskatchewan’s manufacturing sector with state-of-the-art lab.
The Gene Haas Manufacturing Technology Lab will have state-of-the-art equipment and technology, which will benefit students, faculty and industry in meeting the needs of Saskatchewan’s growing manufacturing industry. Renovations and upgrades will be made to the existing Machinist training facility at Regina campus. The new Gene Haas Manufacturing Technology Lab will be completed this fall for use by Innovative Manufacturing program students, Machinist, Welding and Welding Fabricator certificate students and professionals working in the manufacturing industry. It will also be available to support applied research projects with industry.
“The Gene Haas Foundation is proud to be partnering with Saskatchewan Polytechnic. This grant is the next step in a long and fruitful relationship with all who make the manufacturing program what it is today and will be going forward,” says Kathy Looman, Gene Haas foundation administrator. “Gene Haas was introduced to the manufacturing industry when he was hired as a teenager, he experience the joy and success that "making things" can provide and the focus of his own privately funded foundation is to help others realize their potential in manufacturing as well.”
In addition to the gift presented today, the Gene Haas Foundation has provided more than $80,000 to fund scholarships for Saskatchewan Polytechnic students. Along with Haas Automation and Thomas Skinner and Sons, Inc., the Gene Haas Foundation is a significant partner in providing a highly skilled workforce for Saskatchewan’s manufacturing sector.
“The state-of-the-art facility will provide industry with access to innovative manufacturing technologies,” says Dr. Larry Rosia, Sask Polytech president and CEO. “It will be home to cutting-edge equipment and processes enabling our faculty, students and partners to discover new solutions to the manufacturing challenges faced by industry. This would not be possible without the support of the Gene Haas Foundation.”
The Gene Haas Manufacturing Technology Lab renovations include a new non-slip floor, installation of windows, removal of old equipment, updates to power supplies and updated classrooms and computer labs to advance Sask Polytech’s vision in being globally recognized as the first-choice polytechnic in Canada.
In 1999 Gene Haas founded the Gene Haas Foundation. Growing up with a strong social conscience instilled by his family, Haas initially formed the foundation to fund the needs of the local community. Haas is the owner Haas Automation, Inc., America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools, which he started in 1983. Haas Automation is a now a billion dollar company and this extraordinary growth has all come in an era when Americans were being told that the United States doesn’t manufacture anything anymore. Those perceptions and decisions made in our education system regarding vocational education have led to dire statistics. A recent report called “The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond” projects that, “Over the next decade, nearly three and a half million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled, and the skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled.” Gene’s commitment to the importance of US manufacturing has incited him to grow his personal foundation and direct his foundation board to focus on manufacturing education in the form of scholarships for CNC machinist training. Haas is also a primary supporter of the community where his 1 million square foot manufacturing facility is located. To date, more than 4000 charitable (501 C 3) organizations and schools have received funds totaling over 50 million dollars from the Gene Haas Foundation.