Friday, August 15, 2008

Northern College $8 million expansion

The Ontario government gave Northern College a significant financial gift this week to help deal with the shortage of skilled-trades workers in the province.
It was an $8 million gift announced by Training, Colleges and Universities Minister John Milroy.
“We’re announcing today eight million dollars for a new technology centre here at the Porcupine campus as well as a satellite centre in Moosonee,” said Millroy. The provincial contribution will cover nearly 60 per cent of the cost of the new centre.
Millroy’s announcement was greeted with an extended round of applause from the gathered educators, industry leaders and community leaders.
“I hope you see this as signifying our confidence in the excellent work you do here,” Milloy told college officials.
Milloy had high praise for the college’s ability to form partnerships with industry and aboriginals communities.
“I think it’s so important that community colleges work closely with the business community to fulfill their training needs,” said Milloy.
“I also want to congratulate you for your special focus on First Nations,” he added.
Milloy also commented that Ontario is faced with global competition from such “low-wage economies” as those in China, India and Brazil.
“The only way Ontario can compete and the only way Ontario can prosper is if we have the most highly educated and highly trained workforce,” he said.
College President Michael Hill (in photo, on the left) commented on how pleased the college was to move forward on the new Nor Tech Centre for Trades and Technology. “Never have I seen a better match between a government agenda and what a college is meant to do,” he told the minister. Hill added that strong metal prices are fuelling the provincial economy “and this needs to be supported
“There is a convergence of circumstances that make this capital contribution to build a centre of excellence for skills, trades and technology at Northern College, just the right thing at just the right time,” said Hill.
Timmins city councillor Michael Doody, who was also a former chair of the college’s board of governors, congratulated the college on behalf of the city. Doody reminded the minister that Northern College has some challenges to overcome with respect to providing education over great distances, but said the North is entitled to the same quality of education that can be found anywhere in Ontario.
Tom Ormsby, the manager of public and corporate affairs for De Beers Canada Victor Project spoke on behalf of the many industries that hire Northern College graduates.
“Thank you for making this tool available where we need it,” said Ormsby.
He added that he was quoting a colleague when he said “If we can employ those people who live within the shadow of the land, we know that they will give us a stable workforce.”
Ormsby added that the success of the college’s technical programs would be key to the success of the resource industries in the north that employ those workers.
He also credited Northern College and its education partners with contributing to the success of De Beers’ newly opened Victor Mine.
Porcupine campus student council president Laura Gagain commented that the announcement of the new centre will help provide students with the skills, training and education to be able to find good jobs - - “Jobs that not only pay well,” said Gagain, “but provide us with satisfaction after a good day at work.”
She added that she expects that more students will be able to fill the needs for skilled trades workers that so many local industries need.
“We will be able to learn, and then work, in our own communities,” she said.
The total cost of the college’s new Nor Tech Centre is projected at $13.75 million and is expected to create 130 jobs. Construction is expected to be completed by September of 2010 and will add roughly 35,000 square feet of learning space to the college’s Porcupine Campus.
Earlier in the week, Milloy announced $3.5 million funding toward the construction of facilities for l’Université de Hearst at the new Collège Boréal campus in Timmins, which is under construction on Theriault Boulevard.

No comments: