Assiniboine Community College in Brandon is developing the Prairie Innovation Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, which will expand agricultural training at ACC and pump out more graduates for technical and specialized jobs in Canada’s ag industry.
The Prairie Innovation Centre got a major boost in October when Sunrise Credit Union donated $1 million to ACC.
“The college has long focused on providing leadership in agriculture and this donation is a significant step toward this major undertaking in expanding training to meet current and emerging labour demands,” said Mark Frison, ACC president.
The college has a plan to expand the number of students in agriculture, environment and ag technology programs from 300 to 800, the ACC website says.
The Innovation Centre, which is a key part of that plan, will include new programming, such as Robotics and Industrial Automation, Food Science Technology and Advanced Agriculture.
ACC already offers training in agribusiness, for agricultural equipment technicians, sustainable food systems and other ag-related courses.
“Assiniboine plays a vital role in addressing the need for trained employees, particularly in a rural setting” said Bob Mazer, president and chief executive officer of Mazergroup, the largest New Holland dealership in North America.
ACC hopes to raise $10 million in private funds and $40 million in public investments to build the $50 million Ag Innovation Centre.
The new centre will allow ACC to offer more diverse and comprehensive agricultural training for young men and women.
“This will provide a venue to turn students’ heads toward the great possibilities in agriculture and food production,” said Johanne Ross, executive director of Agriculture in the Classroom Canada and co-chair of the Prairie Innovation Centre campaign.