In partnership with esteemed institutions like the Health Care Aide Academy, Northern Lakes College, the University of Alberta Online & Continuing Education and the University of Calgary Faculty of Nursing, the Zero Fee Tuition Program creates opportunities for local students and mature learners to follow new career paths, upgrade skill sets to advance in their current jobs, or re-skill to adapt to economic shifts.
The town invests in local education because of the multitude of dividends it pays. As our program continues to evolve in tandem with industry and academic partnership, its value will resonate in kind across families, existing and prospective businesses, and valued industry leaders alike.
* While funding priority is given to residents, applicants residing outside of Drayton Valley may also be eligible for funding.
The program provides a tremendous leg up for local learners; but mere altruism is not the Town's end goal. Through the program’s sustained growth we entrench our status as a community of choice by keeping our brain trust local. We create new revenue sources and build resilience into our town’s single-stream economy. We safeguard a skilled labour pool to support our industry incumbents while attracting new business sectors to our front door.
Town Council invested roughly $80,000 into the Zero Fee Tuition Program during its inaugural year of operation in 2019. A subsequent report prepared by Carlson Roberts Seely LLP cited an economic return of more than $600,000 back into the community.
Though still in its nascence, the potential of the Zero Fee Tuition Program is evident. We continue to collaborate with our institutional partners on vital new programming; students are signing up for in-person and remote learning classes at the Clean Energy Technology Centre; local businesses and health care centers are onboarding freshly-trained staff who are already embedded in the community.
Clearly, this is a model that works for our community. Through the ongoing participation of local students and regional post-secondary institutions, and with the active involvement and investment of our industry stakeholders, we can fully leverage the power of this unique vocational program to the net benefit of the entire community.