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Northwestern BC school district aims to close trades gap

CAROL Leclerc, former BC Liberal candidate for the Skeena riding – and long-time school district employee – will be taking on a new role within the Coast Mountains School District (CMSD), that of coordinating potential trades careers for students with industry.

This is a brand new position for the district, and it aims to bridge the gap between the school district and industry, ensuring students are ready right out of the high school gate for the employers who will be looking to hire them – or train them further.

"Ultimately we need somebody who can get out there and develop some partnerships," said superintendent Nancy Wells, noting that connections with industry and a knowledge of government bodies would be an asset.

"It'll be the catalyst from the school district to make those connections happen and to get things going for kids. Programs, possibilities, what's out there."

"Carol's strong sense of community and experience in local and regional government have given her a good understanding of regional issues that will complement this role," said Wells in the release announcing Leclerc's appointment.

"Her passion and advocacy for economic development and the resulting benefits for our region will be a strength as she works towards creating training and employability opportunities for youth in the communities of Hazelton, Kitimat, Kitwanga, Stewart and Terrace and all of the First Nations communities within our school district."

Leclerc, who started at the school district in 1990 as the secretary to the Director of Instruction, will be in charge of developing a career education program.

Her responsibilities will also include "building the corporate partnerships necessary to support the development of local trades training programs that will provide students with the skills to become viable employees in the local and provincial labour markets."

Leclerc will be leaving her human resources position, which she has held since 2003, when the new position starts on August 1.

Leclerc served on Terrace city council for nine years, retiring in 2011. Just this year she led a spirited campaign to become Skeena MLA under the BC Liberals, but ultimately lost to incumbent NDP MLA Robin Austin in the May provincial election.

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