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News Release

July 2, 2009

RADF Gives Rural Education and Training a Boost

Programs to Increase Employment Options and Quality of Life across Alberta

Tofield – Rural Alberta’s Development Fund (RADF) announced funding today of $4.5 million for three new rural Alberta projects. The funding will provide additional education opportunities for Aboriginal communities in Alberta’s north, the introduction of trades training for junior high students in the Bonnyville region and community leadership programming in east-central Alberta.

An investment of $3.1 million will help develop Aboriginal learning communities in northern Alberta. The Learning Communities program will allow Aboriginal learners to stay in their communities taking programs and courses that match their interests, experiences and educational needs.

Funding of $1.1 million will create, for the first time in Alberta, a hands-on trades program aimed at students aged 12-15. Bonnyville based Northern Lights School Division will develop and implement the Mobile Trades Foundation Program. The goal is to increase student retention and high school graduation rates.

A grant of $313,313 from RADF will allow a rural community leadership training program to be initially launched in Camrose, Millet, New Brigden, Oyen and Wainwright. This program called Rural Community Leadership Initiative and operated by Centre for Rural Community Leadership and Ministry, mirrors a similar initiative in Saskatchewan. It features a combination of on-line and classroom training focused on building home grown leaders in rural Alberta towns with populations under 10,000.

“These projects are examples of rural Albertans’ commitment to offering innovative educational programming in their own communities. Rural Alberta’s Development Fund is proud to support these initiatives,” commented Bob Clark, RADF Chair.

“These new programs will provide additional opportunities for young people in this province,” said George Groeneveld, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. “With these initiatives, we are helping to ensure quality education and training continues to be available for rural Albertans.”

Rural Alberta’s Development Fund is a not-for-profit company that inspires innovation, collaboration and growth across rural Alberta. It is funded by the Government of Alberta and is a key implementation initiative of Alberta’s Rural Development Strategy. More information is available at www.ruralalbertasfund.com

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Direct media enquiries to:
Godfrey Huybregts, Director of Communications, Rural Alberta’s Development Fund
T: 1.877.940.7233 C: 780.953.0525



Summary of Approved Projects

July 2, 2009

Fund contribution is $3.1 million

Funding from RADF will help the Learning Communities Project identify and provide learning opportunities for people living in Aboriginal communities in northern Alberta. Over the next two years the initiative will create a system of student supports, community based educational data bases and access to e-learning opportunities. It will provide educational services that respond to local interests and build on people’s existing educational preparation and professional or life experience.

This project is a partnership between Athabasca University, the Athabasca Tribal Council, the Bigstone Cree Nation, the Métis Settlement’s General Council and the North Peace Tribal Council. A total of 23 Aboriginal communities will take part in the project.

Expected results include:

  • Development of a educational system that will allow learners to stay in their communities
  • Increase in the number of people with high school or higher education in northern Alberta
  • Development of an innovative education model that can be adapted by other communities in Alberta

Contact: Lori Van Rooijen, Vice President - Advancement, Athabasca University.
T: 403.620.5448

Fund contribution is $1.1 million

RADF funding will enable the creation of a mobile trades curriculum targeted at rural youth in grades seven, eight and nine. The program will introduce hands-on trades training at an early age to encourage students who may be at-risk of dropping out of school to pursue a career path in the trades. Approximately 400 Northern Lights School Division students per year are expected to participate in the program beginning in the 2009-10 school year.

This project is being developed by Bonnyville based Northern Lights School Division No. 69 which encompasses the area from Wandering River through to Cold Lake, Alberta. This project is in partnership with the Northern Alberta Development Council, Alberta Education, the Kikino Métis Settlement, Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, Careers the Next Generation and multiple industry partners.

Expected results include:

  • Creation of a mobile and hands-on trades curriculum
  • Increase in student retention and high school completion rates
  • Increase in the number of northern students completing post secondary trades programs
  • Development of a program that can be easily adapted by other school divisions in Alberta

Contact: Ruth Isley, Partnership Facilitator, Northern Lights School Division No.69.
T: 780.826.3145

Fund contribution is $313,313

RADF funding will help establish a rural community leadership training program for rural communities in Alberta with populations under 10,000. A parallel program is being operated in Saskatchewan with the support of Saskatchewan investors. This non-denominational program will use on-line tools and the underutilized infrastructure and capacity of rural churches as a base for training local citizens in peer mentorship, crisis intervention and economic development.

This project is being developed by the Centre for Rural Community Leadership and Ministry, a non-profit organization based in Saskatoon. RADF’s contribution to this project will see the program launched in Alberta through local community organizations in Camrose, Millet, New Brigden, Oyen and Wainwright. As the program evolves it is expected more Alberta communities will join.

Expected results include:

  • Establishment of community leadership programs in several rural communities in Alberta
  • Creation of three training programs, an on-line resource centre and a fund development and management program.
  • Development of a program that can be expanded to other rural communities.

Contact: Wayne Hove, Board Member, Centre for Community Leadership and Ministry and General Manager for Community Futures Big Country in Drumheller
T: 403.823.7703