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College applauds federal budget

The federal budget, which was announced on March 4, demonstrates an understanding that colleges, institutes and polytechnics are integrated with the industrial and technological drivers of the economy, and Selkirk College president Marilyn Luscombe is pleased with the support shown for post-secondary education.

“This budget acknowledges and supports the key role of colleges in supplying the advanced skills and applied research that underpin economic growth and productivity improvement,” says Luscombe. “The federal government is doubling the amount of money in the College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program—supporting the applied research needs of industry, especially in small and medium enterprises. It is our expectation that this will directly translate into increased post-secondary opportunities and linkages with industries in our region.”

The Association of Canadian Community Colleges, of which Selkirk College is a member, has been heavily advocating for increased federal support for the Community Colleges Innovation Fund. The fund was doubled and will now be $30 million per year instead of $15 million. Prior to the expansion of this fund, Selkirk College was awarded an additional $199,000 from the CCI Program over the next two years for the Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre. The college is now hoping to access more of such funding into the future.

“Successfully landing this grant is a major step forward in building applied research capacity for the college and the region we serve,” explains School of Renewable Resources Chair, Peter Schroder. “It is our hope that this grant can lead to opportunities for applied geospatial research that can serve students and businesses in our area and beyond.”

The grant will help support decision making for forest carbon management. More specifically, it will sustain research that is aimed at developing software applications for assisting small and medium size businesses involved in forest management to become more adept at managing forest land for a variety of new values such as carbon sequestration.

The budget also announced investments in retraining and apprenticeships, much of which will be delivered by Canada’s 150 colleges, institutes and polytechnics, along with a welcome focus on aboriginal education.