Around 12 community members gathered at the Senior Harmony Centre in Kamsack to discuss the five-year strategic plan for Parkland College.
Mark Hoddenbagh, president and CEO of the Parkland/Cumberland College coalition, led the planning and community engagement session. Lauretta Ritchie-McInnes assisted with the administrative process.
Terry Dennis, Canora-Pelly MLA, and Nancy Brunt and Loretta Erhardt, mayors of Kamsack and Togo, were also in attendance with representatives from Kamsack Home Care, KamKids Daycare, SIGN Kamsack Family Resource, Duck Mountain Ambulance and the Kamsack Volunteer Fire Department.
Kamsack is the location of one of seven regional college locations of the Parkland/Cumberland College coalition to offer educational programming in the east central region.
“Today we want to connect with you to find ways as a community to solve problems,” Hoddenbagh said. “These consultations with all of you, business representatives, community leaders and members of the general public, are a way for the College to identify specific needs in each community and work towards filling those gaps.
“This is a great opportunity to connect with community-minded citizens to explore how, by working together, we can support the long-term vision and sustainability of the community.”
Hoddenbagh presented an overview of the regional college mandate, explaining that efficiencies need to be maintained within the system because “for all intents and purposes, the college is a business, and must be financially accountable,” yet the different communities may have input to tailor programming.
After a lunch catered by the Iron Grill, the attendees broke off into two groups for a “brainstorming session” to allow individuals to bring forth their most critical educational needs for the community.
Some of the ideas included a need for more skilled workers and administrators.
“Breakout sessions are important to find out the needs of different communities,” said Dennis. “Our education enhancements allow us to keep and train those who live within our community without them having to leave to seek opportunities elsewhere. By targeting these needs, those who wish to remain in rural Saskatchewan communities are able to do so.”
“This is a great opportunity to learn and share,” said Brunt.
For more information about the college, visit www.parklandcollege.sk.ca.