Minister Boissonnault announces federal investments for inclusive learning and skills development in Alberta

Over $8.8 million through PrairiesCan will help connect youth and underrepresented Canadians to new career opportunities across diverse sectors

December 18, 2023 – Edmonton, Alberta – PrairiesCan

Alberta is home to the youngest population in Canada and has the highest number of people moving to it from other provinces. With Alberta’s fast growing entrepreneurial culture creating significant demand for skilled workers across various sectors of the economy, the Government of Canada is making investments to help meet the needs of small- and medium-sized businesses while supporting youth and underrepresented Canadians to take advantage of new career opportunities.

Today, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, on behalf of the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan, announced federal funding of more than $8.8 million for 11 organizations to deliver quality training that will better prepare youth and underrepresented groups in Alberta to tackle the challenges of tomorrow and innovate across a wide range of industries.

Training will focus on high-growth fields that continue to have current and future workforce demands, including Indigenous economic development, value-added agriculture, data science and digital technology, and technical sales and marketing. Examples of organizations and projects receiving support include:

  • Technology Alberta is receiving more than $2.3 million to develop and implement the second phase of its First Industrial Research, Science or Technology (FIRST) job placement program to help post-secondary students and recent graduates find career opportunities with Alberta technology firms.
  • The Alberta Chambers of Commerce is receiving more than $765,000 to facilitate alignment and coordination among Alberta’s post-secondary institutions and the business community—including collecting and disseminating labour market information, engaging employers and students to expand work integrated learning, and assessing requirements for a shared online portal to connect employers and students through a single access point.
  • The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is receiving more than $308,000 to create and deliver its Blue Book Program to provide students with the opportunity to move a business from idea to launch.
  • The Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO) is receiving over $184,000 to create and deliver a coaching program for Indigenous youth economic development officers, entrepreneurs, and business owners.
  • Young Agrarians is receiving more than $1 million to scale-up its Grow-A-Farmer Program to deliver specialized agriculture entrepreneurship programming, on-farm internships, mentorship, and capacity building that increase businesses-readiness and technology adoption for farm entrepreneurs across the Prairies.

Today’s investments are expected to help support a total of more than 1,600 jobs and approximately 4,500 training opportunities. Federal funding is provided through three programs administered by PrairiesCan in Alberta: The Community Economic Development and Diversification program (CEDD); the Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF); and the Regional Innovation Ecosystems program (RIE).

Each of the PrairiesCan investments made today is complemented by funding support by various levels of government, private sector partners, and additional not-for-profit organizations. This collaboration is at the heart of the Government of Canada’s new Framework to Build a Green Prairie Economy.

The Framework was launched today after extensive consultations with Prairie stakeholders. It is a long-term commitment to work differently, through stronger coordination with and among federal departments on investments for the Prairies and closer collaboration with Prairie partners on their priorities for a prosperous and sustainable Prairie economy that leaves no one behind. PrairiesCan will dedicate $100 million over three years to leverage and attract new investments and support projects aligned with five priorities identified in the consultations: 

  • Growing key regional sectors, including natural resources, agriculture, and manufacturing;
  • Effective movement of goods, people, and information;
  • Expanding and capitalizing on clean electricity;
  • Community economic development; and,
  • Economic reconciliation and inclusive growth.  

This Framework is intended to encourage greater collaboration on investment opportunities, leverage additional funding, and attract new investments across the Prairies.

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