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April 18, 2013

Cuts at Rural Alberta Colleges Result in Job Losses, Program Reductions

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By Sheila Pratt, Edmonton Journal

Two rural community colleges will cut dozens of jobs, close satellite campuses and are worried about reductions in adult upgrading programs critical to getting young people into trades and other skilled jobs.

Lakeland College, based in Vermilion, will cut more than 40 people and plans to eliminate half a dozen programs, including a two-year practical nursing course at the Lloydminster campus.

Portage College, based in Lac La Biche, will lay off 15 people, including 10 teaching faculty, close its campus in Vegreville and halve the size of the Bonnyville campus to save $4 million. No programs will be cut, but academic upgrading will change “significantly” at Portage, according to a news release.

Their budgets will be reviewed by Alberta’s advanced education department, which must approve program closings.

The provincial cuts mean “some learners may be lost in the shuffle in the shifting of the government focus,” Brydon Ward, chair of Portage College’s board of governors, said in a release.

“The government has apparently moved from an access agenda to one of system rationalization,” said Ward’s release.

“The college has done the work of the government in the past by expanding access to students. There is now a new government direction ... and Portage will rise to the challenge.”

Click here to read the full original article.

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