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Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).

Dr. Sam Shaw, president of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), unveiled the Building on Demand campaign on Oct. 4. NAIT intends to raise $50 million to train 160,000 workers to address Alberta's skilled labor shortage. The money will help pay for the construction of 11 training centres that will focus on apprenticeship technologies and future business needs, and will produce trained personnel between the years 2010 to 2020.

The centres will allow for training an additional 40,000 students, 33 per cent more than what NAIT can train with current resources. The demand for skilled labor in Alberta is large and in 2004-2005 NAIT had 1,048 people on its waiting list for training programs.

The Canada West Foundation reported in 2004-2005 that 73 of 76 major industry associations in the West expect moderate to severe worker shortages within the next five years. Sixty-two groups are already facing worker shortages and 41 associations note that the number of students graduating will not be enough to meet industry demands.

"Industry is facing a skills shortage crisis and NAIT has solutions to that problem," said Shaw.

To date NAIT has raised $13.5 million for Building on Demand. The largest single contribution came from Suncor Energy Foundation, which invested $3 million to create the NAIT Suncor Energy Centre for Piping Technologies. Suncor will also support 10 scholarships each year for five years. The scholarships will focus on Aboriginal, immigrant, and female students, groups that are currently underrepresented in the trades' workforce.

Alberta Advanced Education Minister Dave Hancock announced that Suncor's $3 million investment qualifies for a matching grant from Alberta's Access to the Future Fund, which provides money for innovations in the post-secondary system.

"The government has made post-secondary education its top priority. We recognize that everything our government wants to achieve under the 20-year strategic plan comes down to one thing--education," said Hancock. Other organizations that have contributed to Building on Demand are Spartan Controls, Waiward Steel and Ironworkers Local 720.
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Title Annotation:intends to raise funds for training centres construction by Building on Demand campaign
Publication:Wind Speaker
Geographic Code:1CALB
Date:Dec 1, 2005
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