Edmonton – Alberta’s business community and post-secondary institutions are taking action to align skills development with labour market demands through a new Talent Development Task Force.
Led by the Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC) and Council of Post-Secondary Presidents of Alberta (COPPOA), the task force will focus on strengthening the alignment of post-secondary programming with opportunities for business growth and expanding work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students. The task force will be comprised of regional representatives from the business community and post-secondary institutions, industry, and funding leaders.
“The vision for the task force is to inform a provincial talent development strategy that positions Alberta with the best equipped post-secondary system in North America to align programming to evolving labour market needs,” says task force co-chair Dr. David Ross, President and CEO of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). “We have a strong base of industry relationships to work from, but to be competitive Alberta needs to excel in gathering labour market intelligence and establish an effective technology framework for employers to connect with post-secondary students throughout the province. Tackling these current gaps in our skills development ecosystem are top priorities the task force will be focusing on.”
Task force co-chair and ACC Executive Shauna Feth is confident the collaboration with post-secondaries will strengthen relationships across the private sector and result in the high levels of coordination needed to address persistent skills gaps: “the ACC network of more than 120 community chambers represents more than 24,000 business operators from all industries and a majority of these members are small and medium-sized enterprises, which represent the second largest job creating sector in the province – yet it is small business operators who are most often disconnected from the opportunities of working with post-secondaries.”
“Even with COVID-19 putting the brakes on the economy our Alberta Perspectives market research shows many businesses anticipate skills shortfalls to impact their growth, and a strong majority indicate a high willingness to work with chambers and post-secondaries to find the talent they need,” says Feth. “Working together with educators and funders through the task force, the ACC network can engage job creators to inform programming and scale up hands-on learning models like the ACC’s Business Apprenticeship Program to better connect student learning to the dynamic world of work.”
Final terms of reference for the task force will be released following the first meeting in April 2021.
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