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Foundation announces capital project at the Oilsands Banquet

October 13, 2011

While being honoured for its 30 year history at the 2011 Oilsands Banquet held at the Sawridge Inn & Conference Centre tonight, the Keyano College Foundation announced the formal launch of its Expanding Opportunities campaign to raise funds for the first phase of The Oilsands Trades & Technology Centre.

Phase One, and the cornerstone of the centre, is the Oilsands Power & Process Engineering Lab, a $22 million project in and of itself.

This state-of-the-art cogeneration lab will include both power and HVAC plants and will be designed to provide steam time for 4th and 3rd class power engineers. The lab will include a full process operations component and will enable the College to create new programs in instrumentation, fluid mechanics and pneumatics as well as building operations. The Centre was engineered by WorleyParsons and designed by Dialog. PCL Construction Ltd. has been awarded the construction management contract.

Dr. Kevin Nagel, Keyano College President & CEO explains that the rapid growth of operations in the oilsands sector, combined with future growth projections and worker attrition, have increased demand for employees in the power engineering and process operations fields.

"Keyano College is committed to supporting the region’s growth requirements,” offered Nagel.

“We are in the heart of oilsands country and it is imperative that Keyano provides the appropriate post-secondary education to support industry’s growth.”

Workforce planning, strategic recruitment and human resource practices are a top priority for the oilsands sector in order to ensure it has the required labour to support the expected growth. One of the key factors affecting recruitment is the lack of qualified employees. Educational institutions have been unable to keep pace with enrollment demand for power engineering and process operations training, thus not graduating sufficient numbers of students to address the workforce shortage.

Currently, Keyano College instructs 355 students per year in the power and process programs. The construction of the Oilsands Power & Process Operations Lab will dramatically increase enrollment spaces to a total of 1,160 students. In addition, the new lab will enable the College to add programming in related fields such as instrumentation, heating and cooling.

Attracting and retaining a trained workforce for our region is vital to a stable economy. Investment in the capital infrastructure of Keyano College ensures that companies in our region have access to appropriately trained personnel to support their business operations.

Dr. Nagel added that “the Keyano College Foundation has been instrumental in assisting the College with its capital goals and has been working diligently with the Board of Directors to identify a funding model whereby industry and relevant companies have the opportunity to support this campaign by providing cash and in-kind donations to ensure this important new training lab is built in a timely manner.”

Cindy Amerongen, Vice President External Relations at Keyano College and her team in the Foundation have already been quietly building support for the Centre. The evening was capped off with a major donation announcement in support of the project by Nexen Canada, with a pledge of $750,000.

Tony Mankowski, Vice President, Operations, Nexen Inc. was pleased the company was able to provide the support and add to the excitement of the evening.

“Nexen is committed to the region of Wood Buffalo and we know we need a well trained workforce available to assist us in our growth,” said Mankowski.

“Investing in Keyano College Foundation’s campaign is vital to our company‘s future stability.”

“The Keyano College Foundation has a goal to raise over $5 million in cash and gift-in-kind donations to support the construction of the Power & Process Engineering Lab,” stated Amerongen.

To date, approximately $3 million has been raised with committed support previously offered by Syncrude Canada Ltd., Shell Canada and its Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP) partners, Marathon and Chevron, Total E&P Canada Ltd., and Spartan Controls.

“The pledges we have received thus far, along with the announcement made tonight, will enable the College to move forward with its development plans. We are extremely grateful that local industry understands this new Power & Process Engineering Lab is as much for them as it is for the College.”

Ground breaking is planned for spring 2012.

For more information, please contact:
Cindy Amerongen
Vice President
External Relations
Keyano College