BHER and CityStudio Vancouver partner to offer new work-integrated learning experiences to students in small municipalities across Canada 

April 12th, 2021

The Business + Higher Education Roundtable and CityStudio Vancouver Society are excited to announce a partnership that will facilitate the launch of six new CityStudios across Canada, which are innovation hubs focused on engaging students in service-learning opportunities at the municipal level in underserved areas. This partnership is made possible with support from the Government of Canada.

“Canada’s continued prosperity depends on young Canadians having access to the experience they need to succeed, especially as our Government works toward a strong and resilient economic recovery,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Our government is proud to support the collaborative work between the Business + Higher Education Roundtable and CityStudio Vancouver to help local students become more engaged, boost innovation, drive strategic collaboration and create new work-integrated learning opportunities for small municipalities across Canada.”

CityStudio Vancouver Society is a registered charity focused on promoting civic engagement through their innovation hubs (CityStudios) in cities across Canada. Currently operating in 11 municipalities nationally, as well as in Logan and Bendigo, Australia and Oslo, Norway, the CityStudio model enables local post-secondary institutions (PSIs) and municipal governments to provide quality work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences to students. This partnership is an important part of CityStudio’s national scaling plan. 

The creation of six new CityStudios across the country will strengthen stakeholder collaboration in the Canadian WIL ecosystem by creating new inter-institutional partnerships between municipalities and their local PSIs. Over the course of a semester, students will collaborate with peers and city staff on civic issues to earn      academic credits at their participating PSI. Students participating in WIL experiences offered by CityStudio will co-create solutions for more sustainable, liveable, joyful, and inclusive cities.  

“Students have so much to offer our communities, but often struggle to connect with and apply their skills at the municipal level,” said Val Walker, Chief Executive Officer of BHER. “These new CityStudios will provide more Canadian municipalities with access to the talent and skills they are seeking and will empower students through their WIL experiences to contribute to and change their local communities.”

The partnership aims to establish six new CityStudios with a focus on launching the CityStudios in smaller municipalities (i.e. < 200,000 people). This will provide local students’ access to quality WIL opportunities term after term where they may not have existed before, while also providing municipalities with continuous support.    The experience will help students become more engaged and informed citizens, able to better understand the link between the work they are doing and its direct impact on the community and larger economy.

“We are honoured to partner with BHER on the important work of bringing post-secondary students to the table to innovate and contribute with how their communities are built,” said Duane Elverum, Executive Director and Co-Founder of CityStudio. “In addition to the benefits to students, city staff receive valuable support to solve problems and the community is engaged in building their own city; this is what we call the CityStudio triple benefit.”

About CityStudio Vancouver:

CityStudio Vancouver was founded in 2011 to accelerate sustainability in higher education and to provide students with direct opportunities to work in and with cities on urban challenges. Through its social franchising arm, CityStudio Global, it has evolved into a replicable and adaptable partnership model that enables strategic collaboration between academic institutions and municipal governments. Since 2015, CityStudio Global has supported the launch and operations of 14 CityStudios in municipalities across Canada and abroad, helping them collaborate effectively and efficiently for more sustainable, liveable, joyful, and inclusive cities. 

CityStudio Media Contact: Alix Linaker – [email protected]