The provincial government has announced its annual funding for regional colleges with $24.2 million being approved for skills training at the eight Saskatchewan colleges.
College-level courses and the adult basic education and language programs are essential for filling labour market needs across the province and helps students develop employment skills and workplace experience.
“We want to see more people actively engaged in the workforce, which benefits individuals, families, and communities right across our province,” said Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison in the Sept. 21 press release. “The programs our regional colleges will deliver with this funding, from basic skills programs to language training, will support individuals as they pursue further education and move into employment opportunities in Saskatchewan.”
Cumberland College received their requested $2.4 million provincial funding to fund their Adult Basic Education, Essential Skills for the Workplace, and Skills Training Allocation, which was a relief to Cumberland College President and CEO Mark Hoddenbagh.
“It's very helpful for us it helps us to continue doing our programming and in this climate, we weren't sure what the government would be able to afford.”
Implementing COVID measures and safe education practices in their schools have meant a drop in enrollment for Cumberland’s college courses, and that has meant a drop in revenue, said Hoddenbagh. A normal year would see 450 full-time equivalent students taking Cumberland courses at their three campuses in Melfort, Nipawin, and Tisdale, but this year will see around 300 students. This is still a strong position to be in, said Hoddenbagh, since the college is able to offer on and off-campus schooling.
Funding announcements like this will ensure the college is able to maintain their courses so students can work and study in their home communities, he said.
“It's really important that we have this funding so that we'll be able to provide good training in our area and help people stay in this area once they graduate.”
Regional college funding is provided both through the Government of Saskatchewan and the Ministry of Education and with financial stability now ensured with the Sept. 21 announcement, Hoddenbagh said Cumberland will be able to make it through the school year in good financial shape.
Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist