Lakeland College and several other colleges across Alberta have created a task force to assist students and governments in restarting the economy.
Georgina Altman, VP of External Relations, claimed the Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF) could address employment gaps in industries by reviewing and adjusting program curriculums to suit the needs of their respective fields.
“It’s a big deal for us that our students leave their programs and [get] into jobs they are training for. If the demand isn’t there anymore from students or the industry, we’re shifting those programs and, we’re constantly updating them, upgrading them and looking at new programming that would serve the industry and students better.”
Altman said by discovering what the demands are in the economy, the task force can address those needs in their educational programs and set up students to work in those areas.
She adds this will provide students with the opportunity to pursue higher demand careers after they have graduated.
The ERTF has set out 15 recommendations that claim to assist with the Government of Alberta’s Economic Recovery Plan.
The recommendations fall into four categories that focus on assessing current workforce data, micro-credentials used to earn degrees and diplomas, work-integrated learning experiences and innovating educational programs.
“It starts to set a framework for how we develop our programming and continue to move forward. We’re making sure we keep an eye on what the future of the province looks like, and how we can continue developing business and economic growth for all of us.”
In the recommendations, the task force calls for an analysis of existing labour data and market information.
Altman said this allows the institutions to improve their work-integrated learning to focus on addressing the existing skill gaps.
“You’re not going to see these recommendations show up in every class curriculum, but what you are going to see is that curriculum start working to have more opportunity for integrated learning. This is really good for the province. Having this kind of framework in place helps keep everybody moving in the same direction.”
The task force has stated that it will build on its initial recommendations as it looks for ways colleges can support long-term economic growth.