BC Colleges Vow To Help Province Toward Economic Recovery

VICTORIA ? As the BC Economic Summit wraps up today, colleges have vowed to be on the frontline for training and educating a skilled workforce in communities hit hardest by the economic downturn.

?These are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary approaches,? said Jim Reed, President of BC Colleges. ?It is about how we work together in the province to support and build communities so BC can lead the country with a well educated, highly skilled, and productive workforce.?

Colleges will look for innovative ways to deliver essential education and training to all regions of our province. It is about building partnerships with communities, the Province, and the post-secondary system. Even though colleges face significant financial challenges now is the time to work better together toward a brighter future.

?Colleges are our province?s primary trainers of advanced skills. Funding for retraining is key to helping our BC colleges meet the needs of the province and the community for a skilled and employed workforce,? said Jim Hamilton, Okanagan College President. ?Partnerships, flexibility, and responsiveness characterize our college system. These traits will enable us quickly to contribute to the retraining and re-employment of people in every region of our province.?

The colleges are committed to helping the province and economy recover by building stronger communities and a skilled workforce; however, this requires the necessary infrastructure and operating investment in our institutions. With new investments, our colleges are prepared to make program and service adjustments that will effectively respond to our province?s economic and labour market needs. These adjustments will include continued collaborations and partnerships across all jurisdictions that allow us to leverage our resources.

The provincial government has an opportunity to make a right and proper investment in higher education. And in turn, the colleges will ensure there is a highly skilled, job-ready workforce available for the recovery and future development of BC?s economy.