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SACI opening doors for regional youth: Tymensen

Posted on April 25, 2024 by admin

By Heather Cameron
Westwind Weekly News

During a recent Horizon School Board meeting, Blair Lowry, Ward 3 (Taber), spoke briefly about the Southern Alberta Collegiate Institute open house which he attended, and Dr. Wilco Tymensen further explained that the Collegiate is a partnership between six Southwestern Alberta school divisions and the Lethbridge College to enhance student’s hands on experiences as it relates to the trades. 

All parties, Lowry said, stand to benefit from collaboration in a collegiate model: on the part of Lethbridge College, working with Zone 6 school divisions in coordination with each other makes it possible to operate dual credit programming at scale and reduces the administrative work of engaging partners independently. 

Ultimately, Dr. Tymensen said, the goal is to have a positive impact on students so that those enrolled in post-secondary study are better informed about their career paths. For school divisions, Dr. Tymensen said, college programming offers complementary programming to that found in most schools, school divisions would not have the capacity or expertise to offer students this type of program, which could increase engagement among students and improve high school completion rates. 

Dr. Tymensen also emphasized that that school divisions and Lethbridge College are committed to focusing on college programming that aligns with areas of expertise at Lethbridge College and those industries that have the greatest labour market demand and student interest.

The open house, Lowry says, coordinates with news that Alberta Education announced in May 2023 that Palliser School Division, Lethbridge School Division, Holy Spirit Catholic School Division, Horizon School Division, Westwind School Division and Livingstone Range School Division are receiving over $6 million in funding from Alberta Education to help create the Southern Alberta Collegiate Institute. Lowry explained to the Board that Lethbridge College is currently in the process of renovating the old DA Electric Barn to be that space and when completed, the space will include different activity labs and classrooms. 

Each institute will create more room for students to explore post secondary options and experience hands-on technical training. Students in the Collegiate Institute, Lowry said, will pursue career exploration and training in trades programs offered at Lethbridge College, including agriculture, equipment tech, automotive service technician, heavy equipment technician, parts technician, carpentry, baking, cooking, electrical power line technician, plumbing welding and wind turbine technician. 

“During our visit there, they broke us into groups and took us on a tour and we got to see the culinary area and the welding area, which is phenomenal,” said Lowry. “This participation is a great example of what can happen as neighbouring school divisions and postsecondary institutions work together,” said Lowry.

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