June 18th, 2024

Province investing $5.6 million in new micro-credential pilot program


By Trevor Busch - LETHBRIDGE HERALD on September 2, 2021.

Herald photo by Trevor Busch - Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides talks with aquaculture researcher Nick Savidov during a greenhouse tour earlier this week as part of a micro-credentials announcement at Lethbridge College.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtbusch@lethbridgeherald.com

New, flexible learning options to help people take the next step in their profession or explore new opportunities were announced this week at Lethbridge College as a key part of the UCP government’s Alberta 2030 Plan.
In partnership with industry, employers and post-secondary institutions, the province is investing more than $5.6 million in a pilot program to create dozens of new micro-credential learning opportunities in priority sectors and high-demand or emerging industries.
“This new initiative is a multi-year, micro-credential pilot program,” said Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education, following a brief tour of some of the college’s facilities. “This September, micro-credential programs – 56 to be precise – will be available at more than 19 post-secondary institutions across Alberta. At $5.6 million these new flexible learning options will help people take the next steps in their profession or quickly build new careers.”
Many of the specialized programs identified in the micro-credentials announcement will be available to Albertans this fall, helping those affected by the economic downturn quickly re-skill or upskill and access new employment opportunities.
“As Alberta begins to recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever before that we find new ways to help people build skills that employers are looking for,” said Lethbridge-East MLA Nathan Neudorf. That’s exactly what today’s announcement will do, empower Albertans to advance in their careers and provide employers with the specialized talent they need to grow their business.”
By aligning micro-credential learning opportunities with Alberta’s priority industry sectors, the UCP hope to assist industry in developing the talent they need while connecting Albertans to jobs and building partnerships between post-secondary institutions, industry and employers.
“Micro-credentials, we know, are a big part of Alberta 2030, and we do know they are a way of providing support to workers and industry both,” said Paula Burns, president and CEO of Lethbridge College. “The need exists in industry today, we know that micro-credentials really do compliment what Lethbridge College has to offered for over 60 years through degrees, diplomas, certificates and our apprenticeship programs. The micro-credentials really do drill down to effectively teach students specific competencies while making sure there’s still that robust academic vigor that we know Lethbridge College has come to be known (for) as a leader in post-secondary education.”
Examples of micro-credentials programs that will benefit from the announcement include machine learning and artificial intelligence, animation, solar energy, software engineering, and agri-business, among many others.
A successful pilot program is intended to serve as a model to support and expand future micro-credential programs and develop a framework that meets individual and industry needs in all corners of the province.

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