It was one of the government announcements we have all been waiting for here in Yorkton, Premier Brad Wall stepping forward last week with $10 million on funding for a new Trades and Technology Centre for Parkland College.
Recognizing the long list of worthwhile and required projects stacked up awaiting government funds, one can understand it was a process to put forward the merits of the new centre at the Caucus table in Regina.
That said when you look at the importance of education in general, and the growing need for trained trades people in the province, the new centre makes sense in building both careers for Saskatchewan students, but in helping keep our currently vibrant economy rolling along.
Drive around Yorkton and there are still help-wanted signs on many businesses. While many are certainly entry level jobs requiring limited advance training, there is certainly a tight trades market as well.
Talk to anyone wanting to build a new home or business building, and one of the things slowing projects is the unavailability of tradespeople; plumbers, electricians and similar professionals to do the work required.
Yorkton is not unique in facing a tight trades market in Saskatchewan, so a new centre capable of adding some 350 new student positions a year to learn various trades is a huge economic plus for the east central region of the province.
While Wall’s announcement was the final piece of the puzzle in terms of seeing the Trades and Technology Centre move forward, the project is really one which has been made possible because its merits have been understood by both political powers and business.
The City donated 20-acres of land valued at $3.5 million, the Potash Corp donation was $1.2 million, the federal government invested $1 million, and local support raising another $2.6 million. You have to call that pretty unanimous buy-in by all the stakeholders, and shows just how genuine the desire to see the Centre built has been.
And the desire has been based on a recognition the centre will benefit students by providing the foundation for careers, and in turn helping the local economy moving forward.
The immediate benefits, spin-off opportunities created, and long term impact on our city will ultimately change our community.
But in this case the changes to come can only be seen as positive across the board.