This Committee is concerned with the role that public educational institutions can play in supporting local economic development. The Committee feels strongly that employment opportunities for all sectors of the labour force can be created through long-term local economic development. Too often, when youth is selected as a target group, training schemes are short-cycle, stopgap, make-work measures which offer only temporary alleviation of unemployment. Thus, in this paper, local economic development subsumes the youth group in the general population.
PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS: THE TRADITIONAL ROLE - CREATING EMPLOYEES
Public educational institutions in B.C. have been perceived by governments primarily as educators of youth. Their role was to prepare youth for gainful employment, concentrating on vocational and technical manpower supply. Primarily to equalize access to university education, they were also required to provide academic programs allowing transfer to provincial universities. As lesser activities, a range of Adult Basic Education programs and Community Education services have been funded within the same institutions.
Over the last few years, while funding has declined, a finance formula has been developed which allows for strict accounting and cost control of institutional activity, program by program. The formula is enrolment-driven and tends to favour the survival of traditional youth-oriented manpower-training in vocational and technical fields over all other programs. Last on the list, and substantially reduced in proportion to other functions, Community Education is approaching extinction in many Colleges and School Districts. Yet, it is the flexible, ad-hoc programming capability of continuing education units which makes them a most useful partner with other agencies in addressing the educational aspects of Local economic development.
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