Lakeland College is striving to help their local economies to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

President and CEO Dr. Alice Wainwright-Stewart says during a post-economic downturn often times people will have to relearn work skills and take up more work training.

“One of the things the college is very good at is to make sure to have relevant high quality training in careers that really serve our province.”

Lakeland College aims to help workers complete their credentials by providing fully or partially online classes in several programs including trades, human services and the firefighting sector.

“We know COVID could have a second wave so we’re trying to gear up and make sure we’re supporting our region wherever we can. Distance programming and module programming are ways we can support the region in terms of what are community needs.”

Wainwright-Stewart says the college brings in about $120 million to the local economies in Lloydminster and Vermilion.

“We want to make sure that isn’t compromised and we’re doing what we can to ensure local businesses still have the same effect as it did before COVID.”

Eleven of the Alberta’s Comprehensive Community Colleges including Lakeland College are working together and have created an Economic Recovery Taskforce. The taskforce aims to help local, provincial and federal governments and industry to tackle economic challenges associated with the pandemic.

“As a college, what we’re trying to do is say is there anything that we can help link things together or any ways we can find synergies to keep our rural areas going.”

Lakeland College has sent out a survey to both students and teachers on how classes were handled during the pandemic, best practices and how they would like to see classes in the fall. Wainwright-Stewart says they are looking at different approaches including ones where students can get the hands-on learning experience the college is known for in a safe and responsible way.