Northern Opportunities Builds On Success With Further Expansion Bridging High School With Post-Secondary Education

Northeast BC Community Learning Council

2012- Northern Opportunities is an innovative northeastern BC partnership of Fort Nelson, Peace River North and Peace River South School Districts, Northern Lights College, First Nations, industry and the City of Fort St. John with a common goal: to provide young people with a seamless learning pathway from secondary school to post secondary training leading to career success. The Northern Opportunities Program represents a regional collaboration contributing to a skilled workforce and the economic development of the Northeast Region of BC.

Programs combine high school, college studies and work-based training, which enables students to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and advanced credit in post secondary or industry certification. This fits perfectly with the program slogan of "born here, raised here, trained here, stays here!"

With funding assistance from Northern Development, the Northeast BC Community Learning Council expanded the Northern Opportunities Program to include career training in early childhood education, health sciences, recreation, business, education, and visual and graphic arts.

This project is part of a multi-year program expansion that has been supported through a previous investment by Northern Development:

"Since 2004, eight homes have been constructed by students on lots donated by the city of Fort St. John. These homes have all been sold and are occupied by local residents. Twenty-one of my former students are currently working in the community in construction jobs, eleven Residential Construction Program students have completed their level two before graduating from high school, and five students now have their Red Seal Certification."

Richard Koop, Instructor, Residential Construction Program, Northern Opportunities Program

"Students are now being provided with opportunities to begin university transfer courses while still in high school. These students will graduate from high school with a full, first year credit and university level skills, a great advantage when they head off to university."

Dr. Heather Harper, Instructor, Northern Lights College

Positive Economic Impacts in Fort St. John

Northern Opportunities is helping to provide the skilled workers required by industry in the region and keep educated, skilled youth in Northeast communities. As a direct result of the Northern Opportunities Program, the high schools in all districts are reporting a significant increase in both graduation rates and enrolment in trades and technology programs. Qualified trades and technology workers remain in demand in northeast BC and students from the region are positioning themselves for a successful future. The Northern Opportunities Program expansion is helping to develop strong, vibrant communities in northeastern British Columbia and providing young people seamless pathways to career success directly from secondary school graduation to post-secondary pursuits.

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