Post-secondary students will eventually be able to get their degrees in Grande Prairie. Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides announced Tuesday that Grande Prairie Regional College will become the province’s newest polytechnic institution, giving it the ability to grant degrees.
Acting GPRC President and CEO Dr. Glenn Feltham having that ability means they will be able to pick what programs are most needed in the area.
“It positions our institution to meet the labour market needs for highly skilled graduates and to support the broader aspirations of northwestern Alberta.”
The former NDP government first announced plans to prioritize giving the school degree-granting status in February 2018. At that time, the college said it could take two to three years before students would be able to enroll in a degree program. However, Feltham notes the timeline is still unclear.
“It will be a matter of years and potentially decades for our institution to reach its polytechnic potential to make sure we are meeting the needs of our broader community.”
The name of the facility is also still up for discussion, as well as what degree programs it would offer. Feltham believes those chosen will need to fill gaps in various industries across the Grande Prairie region.
“Everything from the skilled trades and apprenticeships which we expect to expand significantly to meet the needs of our community,” he adds.
The province also notes GPRC has proposed offering a bachelor of computing science degree program. The request is under review.
Feltham says there is funding available to help them begin the transition into a polytechnic institution but doesn’t know what the total cost will be. Both the Fairview and Grande Prairie campuses are expected to benefit.