In her letter, the Premier outlines her expectations that Alberta offers greater choice in education with tailored options that best suit the needs of individual students and enable them to pursue career paths with the most plentiful and lucrative employment opportunities. She asks Minister Nicolaides to deliver on platform commitments to support Albertans, including:
- Working in cooperation with the Minister of Advanced Education, to fund the growth of “CAREERS” with public and separate school divisions to increase student participation in off-campus programs or paid internships.
- Enhancing dual credit grant programs to make more funding available for new dual credit programming and equipment.
- Investing $20 million over four years in promoting career pathways, including:
- Organizing career fairs for high school students in high-demand sectors.
- Establishing an online career counselling website for students and parents to assist with career and education roadmapping.
- Launching a high school-targeted advertising campaign to promote high-demand careers.
- Developing more teacher training for career and technology studies.
- Collaborating with the Minister of Advanced Education to develop and promote career educational scholarships in areas of labour shortage for Alberta’s K-12 students.
- Funding additional mobile CTS and CTF labs.
- As lead, working with the Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services to invest $5 million to improve testing and educational supports for children with complex needs including children with autism.
- Collaborating with the Minister of Mental Health and Addiction, who is the lead, to expand access to young people struggling with severe mental illness to construct four new youth mental wellness centres to provide inpatient mental health and addiction treatment to youth while expanding prevention and early intervention mental health support for children and youth that are integrated within schools and communities.
The Premier also tasks Minister Nicolaides with:
- Reviewing the role of parent school councils and working with educators to explore ways parents can appropriately provide more input into school policies and learning options.
- Ensuring Alberta's educational funding model continues to promote parental choice in education. This includes ensuring that Alberta's public, separate, francophone, charter, independent (private) schools and early childhood services operators and home education systems are all appropriately funded to ensure the highest educational outcomes for students.
- Working to significantly increase the number of schools in the communities of greatest need.
- Continuing to bring more collegiate schools online across the province to create pathways for students to post-secondary or their chosen fields in the workforce.
- In collaboration with the Minister of Advanced Education, reviewing the Skills for Jobs Task Force Report and advancing key recommendations from the report pertaining to your ministry, including the design and implementation of an apprenticeship system (similar to the Germanic model) for high school-age students interested in pursuing vocational education and training in the skilled trades.
- Making recommendations on the best way to create an expedited teaching certificate to fast-track instructors of skilled trades and other professions into teaching positions in junior high and high schools.
- Exploring incentives to support the recruitment and retention of teachers, educational assistants and support staff in underserved areas of the province.
- Continuing to implement additional educational assistants in our classrooms to address learning loss and the increasing complexity of learning needs.
- Evaluating and, if needed, expanding supports for qualified professionals, such as speech language pathologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and psychologists.
- Reviewing and strengthening Program Unit Funding (PUF) to ensure programming and funding are addressing the educational needs of children with severe disabilities or delay.
- Working collaboratively with parents, teachers and stakeholders to continue to implement K-12 curriculum, and to implement additional basic life and home maintenance skills as well as financial literacy training into the high school curriculum where appropriate.
- Assisting each ministry to execute on their mandate to design a ministry-specific job-attraction strategy that raises awareness for young Albertans, especially those in grades 9 to 12, and adults changing careers of the skilled trades and professions available in each economic sector, including pathways for education, apprenticeship and training.
“Alberta's United Conservative government is committed to improving education in our province. By significantly building more schools, improving PUF and creating more dual credit opportunities, we will ensure Alberta's education system remains world-class.”