by Tom Gunn, Principal, NSCC Strait Area Campus

As a province, we are living at the crossroads of exciting opportunities and unparalleled challenges for economic growth. Projects like the shipbuilding contract and the Maritime Link are on the horizon, yet so is a looming labour shortage caused by an aging population, and a skills shortage due to a changing economy. We need to face the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities. Working in close collaboration with our communities is a great place to start.

In Cape Breton, we’ve already begun partnering with the island’s First Nation communities where, in contrast to the rest of the province, the youth population is on the rise. Connecting these young adults to post-secondary training can help alleviate the projected labour shortage, benefiting the entire province, socially and economically.

The community support and response to NSCC’s partnership with Cape Breton’s Mi’kmaq communities has been tremendous and we have celebrated significant student success. Many First Nation students pursued our recent Carpentry and Electrical programs offered at Wagmatcook First Nation. The completion rates are well-beyond the national average and the success of our Wagmatcook programs is getting national attention. We want to build on this success by continuing to offer programs in First Nations communities.

This fall, NSCC Strait Area Campus will offer two, full-time programs at Wagmatcook Culture Centre. The Carpentry and Mi’kmaw Health and Wellness ...

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