The Houston community college got $150,000 from the Province for job skills training.
Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad made the announcement at the Northwest Community College in Houston last Wednesday.
“Northwest Community College is an important partner in the response to the sawmill closure in Houston,” Rustad said on behalf of Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. “The college has met with former sawmill workers and will offer a number of training programs that best meet the needs of workers and enhance their job prospects.”
Regina Saimoto, Regional Director for NWCC, said the $150,000 will be used for foundation heavy equipment operator programs in August 2014 and April 2015. It will also run an ACE-IT electrical foundation program in February 2014 and a millwright level 2 program September 2015.
Finally, it will fund an entry-level natural resource certificate bundle in August 2014 and online training for construction safety officer in November 2014.
“One of the things the college has tried to do is develop a plan to give people impacted by the mill closure options and solutions that they can work towards,” Saimoto said.
Since the closure of Houston Forest Products, NWCC and School District 54 have helped 15 people from Houston get their Adult Dogwood Diplomas.
This funding is important for Houston because it makes programs more accessible and more successful, Saimoto said.
“I think having the program in your community, especially when the community is recovering from an impact like a mill closure, is really important. That’s where your support systems are, that’s where your structure is that will help support students through their learning.”
“This announcement is great, it gives us a lot of options and a lot more opportunities but I think it is a testament to the collaboration of the community… We would not be successful without the support of the community,” she said.
NWCC partnered in several programs with Monster Industries, Canfor and Imperial Metals to help bridge the gap between training and employment.
“Houston amazes me all the time in how closely people work together,” said Saimoto.
“People are really genuinely interested in doing what’s best for the community. It’s so refreshing and I think it just makes the community resilient and able to survive adversities like this mill closure.
“I just really want to commend the community for that,” she said.