News Archives: Expanding higher learning in northwestern Alberta
Tuesday, May 11th, 2021
GPRC announced as Alberta's newest Polytechnic on May 11, 2021.
This new designation will support the development of a highly skilled and competitive workforce. Polytechnic status enables Grande Prairie Regional College to create programming that will better support students, businesses and local industry - including apprenticeship education, certificate and diploma programs and high-quality degrees.
“I am thrilled that Grande Prairie Regional College will become a polytechnic institution. This move will ensure students will be able to meet their educational needs in their own backyard. Empowering students with job-ready skills helps grow the community, and attracts new investment to the province.”
Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education
Located in the heart of the Peace Region, Grande Prairie has been a key economic and social hub for northwestern Alberta for more than a century. Alberta’s government, in partnership with Grande Prairie Regional College and student leaders, determined a polytechnic model would best serve the needs of northwestern Alberta. Polytechnics offer a wide range of programming, including degree programs, and play a leadership role in delivery of apprenticeship education.
“Today is a momentous day for GPRC, and for the communities we serve! Polytechnic status will empower GPRC to expand our program offerings. We will grow. It positions our institution to meet the labour market needs for highly skilled graduates, and to support the broader aspirations of northwestern Alberta. My thanks to all those who made today possible, with special thanks to Minister Nicolaides.”
Glenn Feltham, Acting President and CEO, Grande Prairie Regional College
Grande Prairie Regional College and its students, faculty and staff play important roles in the economic, social and cultural life of Grande Prairie and the greater region. The institution has expanded to two vibrant campuses in Grande Prairie and in Fairview, where students can obtain diplomas, certificates, apprenticeship training and select collaborative degrees. As a polytechnic, Grande Prairie Regional College will broaden its programming with an increased focus on polytechnic programming and degree offerings that will support the province’s economy.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our students, partners, industry and our community. We are very excited about the potential impact of expanded academic offerings and the ability to provide continuous learning options so that people learn and stay in our region. This new designation is a significant milestone as we endeavour to meet the changing needs of our communities.”
Bridget Hennigar, Board Chair, Grande Prairie Regional College
These changes also align with the goals of the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs strategy and emerged through stakeholder engagement that informed the strategy.
An official new name for the institution has not yet been chosen but is expected to be announced in the coming months. Alberta’s government will continue to work with Grande Prairie Regional College to ensure a successful path to polytechnic status.
- Polytechnic status in Alberta enables institutions to offer apprenticeship education along with degree, diploma and certificate programs.
- Polytechnic status in Alberta supports the advancement of applied research and industry-driven results.
- Grande Prairie Regional College currently offers apprenticeship classroom instruction in 13 programs, with total capacity of more than 1,300 seats.
- In addition, the institution has put forward a proposal to offer the bachelor of computing science degree program for program approval review. This review is ongoing.
- The Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs strategy is a transformational vision and direction for Alberta’s higher education system, which will develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce, strengthen innovation and commercialization of research and forge stronger relationships between employers and post-secondary institutions.