Local students will benefit from a new $3-million partnership between the Columbia Basin Trust and the College of the Rockies. The post-secondary institution will be receiving $3-millions over three years, the Trust announced today. The partnership also includes Selkirk College, which will be receiving $3-million in funding as well. Investments in technology and work experience programs are two areas that the Trust’s President and CEO Johnny Strilaeff is excited to see grow from the partnership.

“Either introducing technology to programming where it had not been before, or even expanding the use of technology. Folks from this region will recognize we have some more rural communities so are there opportunities to expand accessibility to programming?”

Workforce development has been highlighted as one of the Trust’s goals, which also aligns with work at the colleges. Helping students find jobs right here in the Kootenays and tackling shortages of skilled workers are two of the benefits the Trust is hoping to see. The funding will support the creation of new programs particularly for high demand jobs and new work experience opportunities which will provide not only academic learning but practical experience as well.

In the past, the Trust has funded specific projects at both colleges, for example their trade facility expansions. This new partnership is a little bit different, explains Strilaeff .

“What we’re doing here, it’s a bit more strategic and it allows us to dream a little bit together and imagine what can be possible and I find that quite exciting.”