BC Colleges Applauds the Federal & Provincial Government for the Knowledge Infrastructure Program.

November 8, 2011, Victoria, BC | BC Colleges wishes to thank the federal and provincial governments for their support of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, a two-year $2-billion measure launched in March 2009 to support infrastructure enhancement at post-secondary institutions, including universities and community colleges, across Canada.

In British Columbia, the Knowledge Infrastructure Program funded 42 projects with $237,411,500 coming from federal sources and another $296,502,769 coming from provincial and other funding sources. Of these 42 projects, 17 were at BC’s 11 public colleges.

Highlights from the program include, capital improvements at all 11 of BC's colleges. Additionally there were some significant capital investments made through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program that positively impact colleges’ ability to provide the advanced skills and training necessary to meet the job demands of the future. Some examples of these investments include:

Northern Lights College where the Prime Minister was recently on hand to open the new Centre of Excellence for Clean Energy Technology funded through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. The new Centre will enable the college to train additional students in the fields of health care and clean energy. This will help to address the growing national demand for nurses and provide trained professionals to help drive Canada’s burgeoning clean energy industry.

At Okanagan College's Penticton campus, a new Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation has been opened thanks to the Knowledge Infrastructure Program and is known as one of the world's greenest buildings. The innovative features of the building itself will be used as a teaching tool to help train the next generation of tradespeople in green construction practices, with the goal to nurture a growing high-tech, green focused industry for the South Okanagan-Similkameen region.

The Smithers campus of Northwest Community College received over $8 million in funding from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program plus an additional $8 million from the provincial government for campus renewal and expansion. This investment will allow the college to address trades shortages in the region by providing more efficient and functional facilities, reducing greenhouse gas emissions via its LEED Platinum certification and enhancing the overall learning environment for all students.

At North Island College a new Skills Development and Trades Training Facility was built with support from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. As the first LEED certified building in the region, the new Trades Training Centre will provide training and retraining for displaced resource industry workers in the mid-island.

The newly opened John A. Brink Trades & Technology Centre at the College of New Caledonia in Quesnel brings much needed capacity for trades education to the interior of the province thanks in part to the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. The new centre increases training in a variety of trades and technical education programs, including Welding, Carpentry, Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanics, Power Engineering, Agro-forestry, Horticulture and Animal Science, all key areas in the Premier’s recently announced Jobs Plan.

The Knowledge Infrastructure Program, while providing significant short-term economic stimulus to communities across the country, has allowed BC’s colleges to make much needed capital improvements and in some cases significant capital investments in new or improved training facilities. These investments are critical for BC’s colleges to ensure future labour market demands are met. With investment from both the federal and provincial governments, BC’s colleges can continue to provide students with the advanced skills and education that employers and the labour market demand both now and in the future. This investment pays dividends for communities across our province and the rest of Canada.

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BC Colleges is a consortium representing the Province’s 11 public colleges, serving almost 200,000 students annually with campuses in close to 70 communities throughout British Columbia. Our colleges offer a comprehensive range of programs from university studies and baccalaureate degrees to career, technical and trades education.  All programs are designed to be accessible, affordable and responsive to the evolving needs of BC communities and industry.

Jim Reed, President of BC Colleges – 250-595-4866
Alix Cameron, Red CAB Communications – 604-839-2770
Cindy Ball, Red CAB Communications – 604-828-8050