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Alberta Colleges Economic Recovery Task Force Issues Initial Recommendations

Posted on Jul 24, 2020

Northern Lakes College is one of Alberta's 11 Comprehensive Community Institutions. The Alberta Colleges Economic Recovery Task Force has issued its initial recommendations to support the provincial economic recovery. This media release has been prepared by Grande Prairie Regional College on behalf of the CCCs across Alberta.

The Alberta Colleges Economic Recovery Task Force has released its 15 initial recommendations identifying how Alberta’s colleges can support and expedite local, provincial and national economic recovery, create future competitive job market growth and tackle the unprecedented challenges resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Chaired by Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) President and CEO Dr. Robert Murray, the Task Force has outlined recommendations in their initial findings regarding workforce data, micro-credentialing, work-integrated learning and innovation that will leverage the competitive strengths and agility of Alberta’s 11 Comprehensive Community Colleges (CCCs) in enhancing Alberta’s economic competitiveness. 

“The Task Force has built their recommendations based on the economic growth, stability, and community connection Alberta’s colleges provide,” said Dr. Murray. “Alberta’s colleges have played, and will continue to play, a pivotal role in our province’s economic resiliency by addressing growing industry demands and immediate programming needs. The speed at which we can adjust to meet market needs is a cornerstone of our college system, and these initial recommendations reflect that flexibility. Our collective goals remain to create long-term opportunities for our communities to build Alberta’s and Canada’s economic strength.”

The Task Force’s initial recommendations focus on four key areas:

  • Workforce Data:
    • Coordinating workforce data analysis to drive decisions identifying necessary skills for a globally competitive workforce. Analyzing gaps in reskilling, upskilling and skill shifts in Alberta’s existing and prospective workforce at all three levels of government will provide insight into current sector employment demographics and needs.
  • Micro-Credentialing:
    • Developing programming to address Alberta’s most immediate skills needs and shortages. Implementing new micro-credential programming directly correlating to in-demand skills will result in support to local businesses acquiring experienced, educated and knowledgeable personnel to improve professional practice while elevating student success.
  • Work-Integrated Learning:
    • Designing work-integrated learning programs, specifically technology and computer programs, focused on supporting in-field employment in areas of need with lasting effects. Alberta’s colleges work with students, industry and the Government of Alberta to develop work-integrated learning programming focused on bridging employment gaps with collaborative solutions.
  • Innovation:
    • Redefining the roles of Alberta’s colleges in the provincial innovation ecosystem by commercializing made-in-Alberta innovation, and providing solutions leading to a globally competitive workforce. This includes focusing colleges’ expertise in applied research to significantly benefit students, contribute to economic productivity, and help community organizations and business partners achieve their innovation potential and competitive advantage.

“As we navigate the ongoing global pandemic and economic shocks, these recommendations are aimed at helping to support, complement, and operationalize the Government of Alberta’s Economic Recovery Plan,” said Dr. Murray. “Alberta’s colleges have always been leaders in their regions supporting local research and innovation while meeting local business and industry needs. It is imperative Alberta’s colleges are embedded in federal, provincial, and local economic recovery through education and skills development.”

Read the 15 initial recommendations here

The members of the Task Force include:

•Dr. Robert Murray, Economy Recovery Task Force Chair, President and CEO at Grande Prairie Regional College
•Dr. Paula Burns, President and CEO at Lethbridge College
•Nancy Broadbent, President and CEO at Portage College
•Dr. Peter Nunoda, President at Red Deer College
•Elan MacDonald, Senior Vice-President at Global Public Affairs
•Joseph Lougheed, Partner at Dentons Canada LLP
•Lynette Tremblay, Vice-President, Strategy and Innovation at Edmonton Global
•Justin Riemer, Assistant Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Western Economic Diversification, Government of Canada
•Joan Hertz, Board Chair at ATB Financial
•Bill Werry, Executive Director at the Council of Post-Secondary Presidents of Alberta serves as an observer to the Task Force.
•Peter Leclaire, Assistant Deputy Minister, Advanced Learning and Community Partnerships Division, Government of Alberta serves as an observer to the Task Force.

A distance learning college, Northern Lakes College provides the most accessible and flexible educational opportunities through innovative delivery. Utilizing its unique Supported Distance Learning (SDL) model, NLC assists 5,000 students annually to continue their education, improve their employment opportunities, and enhance their quality of life. Committed to its communities in northern Alberta and to its students, wherever they may be, NLC collaborates with business, industry, and other post-secondary institutions to benefit students and communities. Explore at

For additional information contact:

Rachel Ouellette
Director, External Relations, Marketing & Communication
Northern Lakes College