For more than a decade, the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation (3ci) has touched everyday lives, making a difference locally and across Canada.
“We want to help build growing, thriving, vibrant and sustainable communities across the country,” says Tessa Hebb, the centre’s director. “The centre is vitally important. We have been able to meet these community needs for more than 10 years.”
The 3ci research centre is behind a number of local and global research projects aimed at helping those in need and making lives better. To that end, the centre works with community-building projects, allowing departments and faculties to come together to address social issues.
“We see the needs of the community and we see that there’s a need to address the research,” says Hebb.
One such project is Carleton’s Batawa Initiative, which started in June 2009 and involves several Carleton faculties and students.
“The founder of Batawa came to Carleton with a question. Most of our work is generated by somebody coming to us with a question,” says Hebb, adding that Katherine Graham, the centre’s senior research fellow and former dean of public affairs, is also working in Batawa to help the small Ontario town prosper.
Not-for-profit organizations and groups that assist people who face challenges finding jobs, such as street youth, benefit from the research conducted by 3ci.
The 3ci is also involved in the LEAP Program, which is currently helping to build career opportunities for people living in Cornwall. It’s a research project headed by Carleton’s Peter MacGibbon and sponsored by the federal Office of Literacy and Essential Skills under Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. It offers employment training and entrepreneurial skills to people looking for jobs. Several LEAP projects have already been conducted across Canada, with Cornwall being the most recent.
This project is expected to be linked with other work being done in partnership initiatives across the country, adds Hebb.
At a national level, northern development projects are in the works at 3ci under the direction of Carleton Prof. Frances Abele. Issues currently being studied in the Northwest Territories include homelessness and affordable housing.
On the global scene, Hebb adds that the centre focuses on issues such as reducing carbon footprint and addressing critical sustainability questions. But these global initiatives always link back to local issues, she points out.
Ultimately, Hebb says that the centre plays a key role in the local community, the world and to Carleton, as an institution.
“The role of the university is to create very rigorous, high-standard credentialed research,” she says. “This centre is important to Carleton and important for our communities.”