October 2016

Post-secondary Educational Institutions in Small Rural Communities and Community Sustainability

In a 2010 submission from the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, titled Colleges, Institutes and Communities Partners in Rural Sustainability,it states:

“Colleges are the advanced skills educators of choice. Aligned with the needs of employers, and operating on the leading edge of skills identification, economic trends, and market shifts, colleges solicit continuous business and industry input into curriculum development through Program Advisory Committees.Colleges encourage business formation and sustainability by growing the local talent pool, by re-skilling displaced employees, by offering customized education, and by providing applied research and development support to local businesses”

I think it would be fair to say that offering programs that are rare but have a niche within the economic drivers of a community or region, such as the Elk Valley, further supports community sustainability by drawing students from afar. An example of such a program is the Mountain Adventure Skills Training (MAST) program available at the College of the Rockies – Fernie Campus.

Is there room in the Elk Valley for additional unique and targeted programming that could bring people from across Canada and international countries to study here?   Of course there is. You need only to open your mind to the possibilities and seek opportunities that will diversify and strengthen the economy and our beautiful region.

There may be a lasting legacy for the Elk Valley just around the corner. Stay tuned!