Portage College is increasing its program offerings this fall thanks to new funding from the provincial government. As part of Budget 2022, the government introduced Alberta at Work, a three-year, $600 million initiative aimed at addressing labour shortages. Part of the initiative earmarked $171 million for targeted enrolment expansions in areas with skill shortages, including technology, agriculture, financial services, and aviation. Through the program, Portage will receive $1.73 million to offer new Computer Sciences programming and expand its Community Social Work (CSW) and Practical Nurse (PN) programs.
“Portage College applauds the Government of Alberta for the foresight to budget for program expansion in 2022,” said Nancy Broadbent, President and CEO. “We are very grateful to receive support to expand existing programs and offer new programming for students across our region.”
“This is wonderful news for our College, our students and our region’s economy,” added Dr. Donna Feledichuk, Vice President Academic, crediting the program areas and Deans for helping to secure the additional funding by completing the program expansion grant applications in a matter of weeks. “The new funds will provide spaces for 175 additional students during the next three years and allow us to hire eight additional instructors.”
Computer Sciences courses will be offered through the College’s University Transfer program and will provide immediate skills training for both those looking to enter the field as a specialist as well as providing introductory courses for students in partnering programs such as Education and Social Work. It will be offered in a blended-delivery format, allowing students from across the region to enroll.
“Technology workers are difficult to attract to rural Alberta,” noted Broadbent. “Having a Computer Sciences program will not only provide rural Albertans with these services but will also provide solid careers and support youth retention.”
The funding will also allow the College to reduce waitlists by offering annual intakes for two of its diploma programs at more than one location. The two-year CSW Diploma program will now be offered every year at both the Cold Lake and Lac La Biche campuses. Previously, yearly intakes were only available in Lac La Biche. Similarly, the PN Diploma will now be offered every year in Cold Lake, Lac La Biche and St. Paul. Previously, yearly intakes were only available in Cold Lake. The changes mean 75 more students will be able to take the CSW program and 72 more students will be able to take the PN program during the next three years.
“It is exciting to see Portage growing forward, expanding program offerings in our communities and bringing new programs to our learners,” said Feledichuk. “We look forward to welcoming more students to our campuses this fall and in the years to come!”
Dr. Donna Feledichuk
Vice President, Academic and Research