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Minister talks worker shortage, education funding

Alberta’s minister of Innovation and Advanced Education and Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour has made her first trip up north since getting elected. Lori Sigurdson met with industry and small business owners. She says she’s working on the problem of having more jobs than people to fill them.

“Part of the reason for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program was to of course fill that gap. There’s been some significant challenges with that program; it hasn’t always been administered in the best way. We’re certainly looking at that as a provincial government and wanting to mitigate some of those difficulties.”

She adds that she wants to see some more diversification in our economy and less dependence on oil and gas. While in the city, Sigurdson also met with representatives of Grande Prairie Regional College and Northern Lakes College.

After the NDP government announced $40 million to reverse proposed cuts and increase base funding for post-secondary schools, educators were thrilled but said they were still looking for predictable and sustainable funding. Sigurdson says she recognizes the difficulties they have when trying to plan long-term, which is why the province is doing a two year review of the system.

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“Get feedback from all the stakeholders, students, faculty associations, the board of governors, administration regarding some tough questions about where we’re going in post-secondary.”

During the review, tuition has been frozen. It’s expected to get started this fall.

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