Since Selkirk College alumni began transitioning into the regional workforce in the late-1960s, individuals educated close to home have helped build and grow the economy of the West Kootenay and Boundary region. As the college embarks on a celebration of its first 50 years and looks towards the next half-century, an exploration of the relationship post-secondary has with local business and industry tells a story of success.
Building a sustainable regional economy requires teamwork and when it comes to helping provide an educated and trained workforce to create growth, Selkirk College and Columbia Power are a winning combination.
“Columbia Power has created 660 new megawatts of electricity from our projects, generated over 1,200 construction jobs and injected close to $300 million into our local economy,” says Bree Seabrook, Director of Public & Aboriginal Relations for Columbia Power. “Many of the workers who built our projects were trained and educated at Selkirk College. They were able to stay in the community because of the link between their education and local employment opportunities.”
Columbia Power was created in 1995 under the Columbia Basin Accord with the original mandate to undertake power project investments as the agent of the Province of British Columbia and in partnership with Columbia Basin Trust. Over the last two decades, Columbia Power has been an integral component of major dam projects including the recently completed Waneta Expansion project. Columbia Power owns and operates hydro power projects in the Basin with a vision that includes reinvesting in the future of the region through areas including post-secondary.
Providing residents of the West Kootenay and Boundary region a post-secondary pathway close to home is one of the foundations Selkirk College was built upon when it first opened its doors to learning in 1966. Over the past five decades, the college has provided thousands of students the educational tools for success.
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