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Innovative Project Boosts High School Completion Rates

Small Town, Big Sky series highlights program that is engaging and empowering at-risk students

Edmonton, AB- The Rural Alberta Development Fund is proud to showcase the third Small Town, Big Sky case study with the Mobile Trades Foundation Program. With a goal of re-engaging northern Alberta students and improving graduation rates, the Northern Lights School District (NLSD) found a way to connect, excite and retain student’s enrollment. 

The Small Town, Big Sky series showcases unique ways that rural communities are coming together to take on challenges, to secure the future strength and vibrancy of their community, and create opportunities to grow change agents and leaders within their towns.

With 28.1% non-completion rate of high school students, NLSD was approved for $1,056,750 in funding from the Rural Alberta Development Fund to create a hands-on trades curriculum. The Mobile Trades Foundation Program was designed as a way to keep students interested in school and demonstrate the value of education.

Laurie Thompson, Principal of Kikino School, is thrilled her students had access to the Mobile trailer. “It offers unique, hands on approach to learning that makes sense to the children and families of the Kikino Metis Settlement. They struggle for every grade but the trailer gives them 21st century real-life job experience. They have the right attitude to have success and those are our kids who will do well. “ 

The NLSD also used Big Sky thinking and tenacity to foster relationships with industry and secure welding equipment. The Mobile Trades program has now educated more than 480 students.

With testimonials from the students including “I am now thinking about career options that I never thought about before,” and “The welding trailer makes me feel good, happy, and excited; exhilarated!“  The Rural Alberta development fund is thrilled to support and showcase this innovative project that has re-engaged students who have the potential to become future leaders in their communities.

 Read the full story of the Mobile Trades Foundation Program and the rest of the Small Town, Big Sky features at www.radf.ca/be_inspired.


Background on Mobile Trades Foundation Program 
The Mobile Trades Foundation Program, which began during the 2009-10 school year, introduces hands-on training at an early age to encourage students at-risk of dropping out to stay in school.  Lead by the Northern Lights School District, the curriculum is supported by a travelling mobile teaching and training centre. It is estimated at 400 students will participate annually. Its objective is to increase student retention, increase the number of students pursuing post-secondary trades programs, and to be an easily adaptable program to be adopted by other school districts.

Rural Alberta Development Fund is a not-for-profit company that inspires innovation, collaboration, and growth across rural Alberta. In 2007, it was capitalized with $100 million by the Government of Alberta as part of its Rural Development Strategy. So far, $79.6 million has been committed to 73 projects. Applications are now being accepted for the remaining $20.4 million, which must be committed by March 31, 2012.


For more information, contact:
Courtney Mosentine
Director of Communications
Rural Alberta Development Fund
780.436.9585 office; 780.399.7336 cell
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