NORTHWEST COMMUNITY College continues a series of meetings on how it can best respond to the training and education needed by northwest residents with a session this Saturday in Terrace.
With its budget and spending tightening up, the college can no longer afford to be all things to all people so it needs to know what residents regard as most critical, says president Denise Henning.
“Sometimes when there is strategic planning it is done internally. Here we are going to the community, asking what we need to focus on in our planning for the next five years,” she said.
“We need to be more focussed on our approach and broaden our depth,” Henning added. “We’re facing a narrowing of our resources.”
She’s warned college staffers that the way NWCC does business from now on will be different than in the past.
“It’s no secret we are in a challenging time,” added Henning of the general provincial financial picture.
The main question the college is asking northwestern residents at the meetings is “what are your most urgent priorities,” she said.
Henning fully expects the list to differ from community to community depending upon circumstances and economic focus.
Eco-tourism may be important in one location and mechanical skills in another, she said.
“We need to be held accountable and produce a model that works,” Henning said.
She said it will no longer be possible for the college to simply say it is doing a good job.
“I’m a data driven decision maker,” Henning continued.
Henning views the college as playing a prime role in preparing northwestern citizens for the kinds of jobs to be generated from existing and planned major industrial projects.
She noted the college has already increased the skill and educational level of 30,000 people over the past five years.
“We’ve gone through and counted,” Henning said of that 30,000 figure.
“I have to applaud the past administration for the work they did,” Henning continued.
“We’re ready now to do whatever that’s appropriate. The college is in position already. We’re ready to work with industry,” said Henning in development joint programs.
“We’ve all got a whole lot of work to do and we need to rely on each other to get it done.”
The sessions are called “Together this way forward” and the one in Terrace starts at 10 am Oct. 15 at the Waap Galts’ap longhouse located on the college campus.
When finished, the college will have hosted 15 such sessions.