A 10-year strategy for post-secondary education in Alberta — Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs — was released by the province on Thursday.
But Red Deer College’s future is unclear.
Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides said at its core, the strategy will work to build skills for jobs to ensure that Albertans develop the knowledge and competencies they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world.
“Global trends are reshaping post-secondary education and the skills our students need for success. Rapid technological change is poised to disrupt the labour market as many Albertans currently work in careers that may face disruption due to automation and technological advancements,” Nicolaides said during Thursday’s press conference.
“We are also experiencing a growing shortage of skilled trades professionals which also threatens to create workforce shortages in key sectors of our economy. We must do everything possible to ensure post-secondary graduates, and other adult learners, are equipped with the skills for jobs.”
In a statement, RDC said its committed to working with the Ministry of Advanced Education and within the new Alberta 2030 framework.
“We will continue to support our students in their academic journey through innovative programming, work-integrated learning, and applied and relevant research opportunities. These opportunities will help meet the demand from industry and provide our students with the ability to stay and learn in central Alberta,” said RDC.
Mayor Tara Veer said the City of Red Deer and city council will review the report fully to better understand its implications for Red Deer College, as well as identify potential impacts to citizens.
She said the community’s priority is that RDC be cleared to grant degrees while maintaining its trades and applied learning programs.
“For our city and region to fulfill our potential, we need to not only retain our existing population, we need to become a competitive contender in attracting new population to our city.
“One of the most promising means of doing so is through the development of a skilled labour force, offering a broader spectrum of career options locally, and attracting population who will stay and strengthen our local economy through their future contributions in various sectors,” Veer said in a statement.
The six goals of the province’s 10-year strategy are: improving access and student experience; developing skills for jobs; supporting innovation and commercialization; strengthening internationalization; improving sustainability and affordability; and strengthening system governance.
Brittany Lausen, chair of Alberta Students’ Executive Council, said the strategy addresses some students’ concerns surrounding the rising costs of tuition and insufficient financial aid.
“The council is encouraged that the review has called for predictable tuition with reasonable increases and, following the 2022 academic year, the minister has committed to keeping these increases tied to inflation. As costs continue to rise for students, the additional commitment to student aid will be essential in helping support students throughout their journey in post-secondary and their transition to the workforce after,” said Lausen, who is also president of Students’ Association of Red Deer College.
RDC said more details will be available early next week.