The Alberta Colleges Economic Recovery Task Force is recommending an emphasis be placed on the expansion of applied research and technology innovations, among a list of recommendations identifying options for how Alberta’s colleges can support and expedite local, provincial, and national economic recovery.

Chaired by GPRC President, Robert Murray, the task force is looking at using Alberta’s 11 Comprehensive Community Colleges to enhance the province’s economic competitiveness.

Murray says the task force’s recommendations have been put together based on the economic growth, stability, and community connection Alberta’s colleges provide within their respective communities.

“Alberta’s colleges have played, and will continue to play, a pivotal role in our province’s economic resiliency by addressing growing industry demands and immediate programming needs,” he says.

“The speed at which we can adjust to meet market needs is a cornerstone of our college system, and these initial recommendations reflect that flexibility,” he adds. “Our collective goals remain to create long-term opportunities for our communities to build Alberta’s and Canada’s economic strength.”

ACERTF officials say their initial recommendations focus on four key topics, overviewing workforce data, micro-credentialing, work-integrated learning, and innovation. The task force was launched to help local, provincial and federal governments, as well as industry leaders to make a long-term impact on economic growth,

Murray says the economic shocks that came in the wake of the pandemic are navigatable, and the task force recommendations are aimed at operationalizing the government’s economic recovery plan.

“Alberta’s colleges have always been leaders in their regions supporting local research and innovation while meeting local business and industry needs. It is imperative Alberta’s colleges are embedded in federal, provincial, and local recovery through education and skills development,” he says.

The task force has made the full list of recommendations available online through the GPRC website.