Keyano College is reaching a helping hand across Alberta this summer to assist a community more than 800 kilometres away that has been deeply affected by the closure of its main industry.
Grande Cache, originally built as a service town for the coal industry, saw the loss of nearly a third of the town's jobs with the closure of operations at Grande Cache Coal in 2015. The town and many of its people have suffered serious economic hardships since.
In partnership with Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC), Keyano rolled into town with its mobile simulators in mid-July to teach its 6-week Heavy Equipment Operator (HEO) course.
Students are being provided with simulator training and home course work on the basic and safe operation of heavy equipment. Through the HEO program, they have the opportunity to focus their skills on various pieces of equipment including: wheel loader, dozer, grader, excavator, articulating truck and off-highway truck.
GPRC representatives say the opportunity to train for new jobs is giving hope back to the community. Last year, dozens of homes were foreclosed on in the town and, for some of the students, their acceptance letter stayed the bank from proceedings.
“We understand how important our assistance is, and are really pleased to be working in cooperation with Grande Prairie Regional College in this effort to help the people of Grande Cache ,” said Fred Russell, Director, Career & Education Access, Keyano College.
As part of its ongoing efforts in Grande Cache, GPRC is following Keyano’s HEO course with its own Wheels to Workforce program, a Class 1 Driver’s training course