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Community college bursary designed to help further the education of women unveiled

Cassie Myra, who is currently doing her pre-apprentice electrical, construction and industrial certificate at the NSCC Lunenburg campus, spoke on March 6 about the importance of women having access to the education necessary to get higher-paying jobs with more stability.
 BRIDGEWATER - With International Women's Day just two days away, the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) and the provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women jointly unveiled a new bursary program at the NSCC Lunenburg campus on March 6.

 The Bread and Roses Bursary, NSCC president Joan McArthur-Blair said, will be a $20,000 fund, managed by the NSCC Foundation, which will go to support women studying the sciences, trades or technologies, with particular consideration for women from diverse communities.

 The bursary will allow the NSCC to provide financial assistance to 15 women this year, with two selected students receiving $3,500 each to help cover the cost of tuition and other barriers to education that women face, such as child care and transportation.

 A total of 13 other students, one at each of the NSCC campuses, will receive $1,000 bursaries.

 Lunenburg West MLA Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, who is also the minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, remarked that the name of the bursary has roots going back nearly a century, when women first began earnestly pursuing equality.

 "The phrase comes from a marching song that women sang when they marched for better working conditions nearly a century ago," she observed.

 "Today, we are embracing the spirit of Bread and Roses nearly a century later and through the Bread and Roses campaign, we will mark International Women's Day … and we will highlight opportunities for women in higher-paying fields, such as sciences, trades and technology," Ms Bolivar-Getson added.

 "We need to boost the ability of women to work in higher-paying careers, with long-term economic security. Some women are making significant advances in the workforce, but too many are being left behind," she said. "[And] these bursaries will empower women through education."

 Cassie Myra, a 24-year-old student doing her pre-apprentice electrical, construction and industrial certificate at the NSCC Lunenburg campus who was invited to share her story during the unveiling, said that she hopes the Bread and Roses Bursary program will make things easier for future female students trying to acquire additional education.

 "I set a career goal for myself to begin and complete my electrical certification by June 2009," she recalled.

 "Once I had a career goal, the only barrier holding me back was the financial support needed to complete my studies," Ms Myra added. "The stress sometimes was overwhelming."

 Able to make ends meet through support from Service Canada and other bursary options, Ms Myra noted that she was fortunate and that she sincerely believes the Bread and Roses Bursary will help ease financial strain on future NSCC students.

 "That's why I'm so excited to be a part of the launch of the Bread and Roses award," she said. "I know this award will bring much more than just financial relief for its future recipients. It will bring them that extra confidence, motivation and determination in their pursuits."

posted on 03/10/09
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