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Imagine this scene around a board table.

Times are tight and balancing the budget is becoming an increasing challenge. As the costs for staff training are shared, one manager leans across the table and whispers to another, “Imagine spending that much money training our staff, and then they all leave.”

The second manager whispers back, “Imagine not spending anything training our staff, and then they all stay.”

The obvious lesson from this scene is that a trained and capable group of employees is a critical asset for organizational growth and success. Lack of training, or a lack of resources to support training, are all problems to solve.

Could this happen in our area? Sadly yes.

In fact, information gathered by the BREWD (Business Retention, Expansion and Workforce Development) project, shows that businesses in our region are concerned with topics like human resources and technology. The data implies that business could grow but are held back by a lack of access to training, or the funds to make it happen.

There are solutions to both problems.

Medicine Hat College does devote much of its time and resources helping individuals develop the skills and knowledge needed for careers. That’s what we’re known for. Yet we also have the capacity to support business training in many formats.

A practical question at this point might be about the uniqueness of your business, and a potential mismatch with college programs. The answer to this problem is two-fold: Customization and collaboration.

Members of the continuing studies group are ready to work with you to align courses to your needs. This might involve anything from managing the length of the course and format of a course, to tuning the content just for your employees.

The college also has connections with institutions around the province, creating an extensive pool of talent that can be deployed when our local capacity doesn’t go far enough.

Getting back to our fictional board table, cost can be a practical barrier to training. But there are solutions to this challenge, too.

Did you know there’s a program called the Canada Alberta Job Grant that offers up to two-thirds of the costs of workforce training?

As an eligible employer you will be required to contribute a minimum of one-third of the total training costs for existing employees. But the government contributes two-thirds of the cost to a maximum of $10,000 per trainee per fiscal year.

If you have the opportunity to hire and train an unemployed Albertan, up to 100% of training costs could be covered, up to $15,000 per trainee.

If you’re thinking about paperwork and red tape, you might be pleasantly surprised to discover that application isn’t that difficult, and also that people are ready to help.

We’re ready to work with you to ensure staff training is an investment in the success of your business.

Mark Keller is director, College Advancement, at Medicine Hat College.


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