Lakeland area post-secondaries will be able to take in more students next year.
The Alberta Government announced an expansion of over 400 seats for Portage College, Lakeland College, and Keyano College in Fort McMurray on Wednesday.
This targeted enrolment expansion program will invest in seven programs, supporting more than 400 new seats over three years, and focuses on health care aide training, practical nursing and animal health technology.
This includes an influx of $1.7 million to Portage College and $990,000 for Lakeland College.
Nancy Broadbent, president and CEO of Portage College, said this means training will happen every year for practical nurses.
“Portage College is grateful to receive support to expand programming for students across our region. Our community hospitals and clinics need practical nurses and these expansion dollars will allow students to start their training every year in Lac La Biche and St. Paul,” said Broadbent in the press release.
“In Cold Lake, we will now be able to start students each year in the community social worker program. In the past, students would have to wait for every second year to take this training.”
“Lastly, the college is grateful to receive funding for a brand new program. Technology workers are very difficult to attract to rural Alberta. Having a computer technician program will not only provide rural Albertans with these services but also provide solid careers and support youth retention. It is intended that this program will be available in a blended format, allowing students from across our region to enrol in person or online. Portage College applauds the Government of Alberta for their foresight to budget for program expansion in 2022.”
Alice Wainwright-Stewart, president and CEO of Lakeland College, said this news will mean good things for their animal health technology and health care aide programs.
“This investment ensures more students will benefit from the hands-on, work-integrated learning experiences Lakeland excels at providing. More Lakeland graduates will be able to enter these sectors and help address the shortage of health care aides and registered veterinary technologists in Alberta.”
Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul MLA David Hanson said he was pleased to see his government make these colleges a priority.
“The $1.7 million Portage College will receive as part of the targeted enrolment program is extremely important. Our rural communities need ways to retain our youth, especially in health-care positions, and increasing funding to health-care programs in Portage College is a good step in the right direction,” he said.
Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche MLA Brian Jean said as a former instructor at Keyano College, he knows the importance of northeastern post-secondaries for their communities.
“An increased investment in health-care professionals training and then working in northeastern Alberta is one of the most important things our government can do for Alberta’s future.”