The transition of the Grande Prairie Regional College to a polytechnic institute could help fill in some potential labour gaps in the region.
Board Chair of the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce Larry Gibson says as a recently released study indicates, the Grande Prairie area is already becoming a very diverse economy, and with that diversification, is a need for a wider range of skilled workers.
He says while they had a bit of a pre-warning that there was a big announcement coming out of the college, they were thrilled to hear of the development of GPRC into a degree-granting institution.
“It’s going to be huge for the area, our businesses, survey’s and work we continue to do always pointed out that young adults go to their post-secondary here but have to leave to get their degrees, and they don’t seem to come back,” he says.
“Having that ability here locally is not only going to keep some people in the region, but attract individuals here to get their degrees and maybe stick around this area as well,” he adds.
Shortly after the announcement was made, Acting President and CEO of the GPRC Dr. Glenn Feltham says the change into a polytechnic institution will allow the school to provide certificates and diplomas, as well as degrees. He adds the polytechnic institute designation eliminates a lot of limitations the school may have faced.
Gibson says expanding the number of subjects the school can offer will hopefully translate into successes for the business community as those graduates begin their careers full time.
“We’ve already started some discussion, and started to initiate that process to get industry, the chamber, the college, and our area tied in more closely so they can build their programs to accommodate the needs of the area,” he adds.
School officials say both the Fairview and Grande Prairie campuses of GPRC are expected to benefit from the transition into a polytechnic institute.