If there were any doubts in the minds of the Brad Wall government that there is support for a new Trades and Technology Centre for Parkland College they should have been put to rest Monday.
It was Monday the City of Yorkton formally announced it would sell the College 20-acres of land on which to locate the new centre for the symbolic amount of one dollar.
The decision to make the donation was a far reaching one in terms of the future of not only the city, but the entire Parkland Region.
In recent years the region has experienced significant business growth and faced challenges in finding skilled labour in the process.
As a result many businesses have had to look across Canada, and abroad in order to find the qualified staff which they require.
Often the jobs are one we look at as higher paying ones, in particular with regards to tradespeople.
By the province’s own number the situation will remain a tight one in terms of finding skilled labour.
At the press conference making the announcement Monday, (see related story Page A1 this issue), Yorkton Mayor James Wilson cited the existing “shortage of skilled labour” in the region, adding provincial government numbers suggest there will be a need for an additional 1000 “skilled workers needed in the Parkland Region each year for the next 10-years.”
The new Trades and Technology Centre would be a step in addressing the growing need, although not the full answer.
Dr. Fay Myers, President of Parkland College said the Centre, once operational, would graduate 350 people in the trades sector and power engineering sphere.
Certainly for the region, which has become a provincial leader in terms of economic growth, to continue its current expansion skilled labour will be essential.
Myers said they recognize the demand noting when they talk to local businesses they learn quickly “just how much they need this facility …”
Those businesses have already begun to step up in support of the centre with the Saskatchewan Potash Corp. announcing it will match $1.225 million in local donations to the capital fundraising effort. It is another message to Premier Brad Wall’s government major industry sees the benefit of a centre here.
The local need and support is clear, but the project cannot go forward without the province coming to the table with its share of the $14.9 million project, or about $10 million, after local fundraising efforts are factored in.
While it is unlikely Wall will be making an announcement until the government digs through its current year operations to see how close it came to its projected razor thin budget surplus, and then delves into what the 2013 budget will look like. That said, for a government which prides itself on creating an environment where business can operate and prosper, approval for a needed educational facility should be a priority in that document.