Innovative Solutions in Workforce Development

ARDNProblems and the resulting opportunities often need an innovative approach to find solutions so with that in mind I attended the ‘CRC 2014 :Workforce Development Event’ on behalf of the Centre for Research & Innovation last week. This event was put on by the Alberta Rural Development Network and its many partners. The time well spent as the issue of workforce development is very relevant in our area. The presenters were excellent and the event was very well organized even to the point of trying to identify appropriate action items that could really make a difference. My only disappointment was the lack of industry in attendance.
Again and again it was identified that collaboration between community, education, government and industry was key to finding solutions to this problem. The CEO of CAREERS: The Next Generation even went so far as to suggest that without all those players at the table it was like a stool with a leg missing. This isn’t the first meeting or event I have attended where industry was a critical player and they weren’t there. That begs the question how do we engage industry into the arena in such a fashion that they are part of the team?
There were a few themes that ran through the presentations during the event; developing the aboriginal workforce and encouraging woman in the trades were definitely part of the solution. JudyLynn Archer ED of Women Building Futures gave an excellent presentation and it is my hope that expanding her organization into the north becomes one of the actionable items going forward. As Derek Bruno, one of the very successful aboriginal presenters put it ‘we need to own the opportunity as communities’ and do it differently than we have done in the past.
I learned a lot at this event and I am increasingly impressed at the innovation and collaboration of our educational institutions. Collectively I am sure we can find an innovative solution to all our issues.

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