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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

FortisBC gives $42,000 surge to new trades training centre

FortisBC March 2018

Canada’s largest private utility company is helping address the skills gap in the province through a generous gift that will support trades training at Okanagan College.

FortisBC has announced a $42,000 gift for the new Vernon campus Trades Training Centre. In addition to supporting the facility, the gift will also provide students with some state-of-the-art equipment and help the College deliver training on the latest techniques in energy efficient construction.

“We are pleased to provide support and funding for the new trades training centre at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus,” explains Gary Fillingham, Fortis BC Operations Manager, Interior South.

The gift from FortisBC includes a $20,000 donation toward the facility, bringing the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons – Building for Skills fundraising campaign closer to its $1-million goal.

An additional $10,000 gift-in-kind of gas meters will provide plumbing and electrician students with invaluable opportunities to train using equipment they’ll encounter out in the industry.

FortisBC’s Conservation and Energy Management group is also contributing $12,000 to support curriculum development that will allow the College to deliver training on energy-efficient construction techniques.

“The demand for skilled tradespeople is increasing at FortisBC and in the energy industry, so having this high level of training in Vernon is good for our organization and for the region in general,” adds Fillingham.

“This significant gift from FortisBC will have a tremendous impact on our students and on our campus,” says Kathy Butler, Executive Director, Okanagan College Foundation.

“Not only does this support assist in providing equipment for teaching and skills to our students for in-demand trades, but also develops the next generation of energy leaders in our community. It is extremely reaffirming to our students to see a national leader like FortisBC make an investment in trades as a career choice.”  

Construction is well underway on the 13,450 square-foot training complex and on track to complete in early summer. Trades students currently train in a leased facility off-campus and will begin programs in the new facility in August.

Read the full story here



Monday, Dec. 11, 2017

 

Vernon Trades campaign kicks off with big boost

campaign launch

The future is looking bright for a new trades training hub in the North Okanagan after Okanagan College kicked off its fundraising campaign on Monday with the announcement of two major gifts.

Vernon philanthropist George Galbraith announced a $250,000 pledge to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons – Building for Skills campaign for the new Trades Training Centre at the Vernon campus. Immediately after, a second gift of $250,000 from Kal Tire was announced.

The $500,000 boost puts the Okanagan College Foundation well on its way to the campaign’s $1 million fundraising goal.

“It’s very rewarding to be a part of such an exciting initiative in our backyard,” says Galbraith, who is dedicating his gift and naming one of the trades shops in memory of his son Kieran.

Well-known in the community for his generosity, Galbraith sees his gift as an act of gratitude for the benefits he received raising a family and building a livelihood in the Okanagan. For him, it’s not about signing a cheque, it is about making a long-term investment in the future of the region. Galbraith hopes it will inspire others to contribute as well.

“The new centre will provide youth from our community the educational foundation and tools to be successful as they embark on their careers.”

The contribution from Kal Tire will see one of the new centre’s trades shops named for the company.

“We’re proud to support a new learning environment that will provide the highest quality trades training, and a promising career path for students,” says Robert Foord, President of Kal Tire. “This new centre will create a positive impact for our local economy and help keep qualified tradespeople in the North Okanagan.”  

The two contributions will support the completion 13,450 square-foot state-of-the-art centre on the Vernon campus that will have the capacity to train approximately 150 students per year. The project is being supported through the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. Through this fund, the province of B.C. is investing $2.9 million and the government of Canada has provided $2.7 million. The Okanagan College Foundation is fundraising for the remainder of the project cost and to provide program and student bursaries and scholarships that will help increase access to training.

Construction of the $6.2 million building is underway, with completion targeted for Spring 2018.

“Both George Galbraith and Kal Tire are renowned for their philanthropy and civic spirit,” says Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “Once again, they are supporting the community, this time through significant contributions to a leading-edge facility where Okanagan College students will train to become part of the solution to address the skills shortage in the province.”

At the launch event, the Okanagan College Foundation also announced a partnership with the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan (CFNO). According to Michael Tindall, Chair of the Bright Horizons Vernon campus campaign, the collaboration will give individuals and businesses the opportunity to make a donation to the campaign through the charity of their choice.

The first gift to the campaign was a $50,000 pledge from Vernon home building and renovation company Keith Construction, announced in May 2017.

For more on the launch and gift announcement, watch the videos from Global Okanagan and Castanet.
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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

 

Builder honours father and industry with $50,000 gift to College

keith construction iocVernon-based home builder Keith Construction has stepped up to provide $50,000 towards the campaign to support Okanagan College’s new $6.2 million Trades Training Centre at the Vernon campus.

Dahlen Family May 2017Ken and Karen Dahlen, owners of the custom home building and renovation company, are thrilled to be the first to contribute to the project as a way to demonstrate the company’s appreciation for its industry, employees and community.

“Our success over the years has come from multiple skilled tradespeople within our region,” says Keith Dahlen. “With a shortage of skilled trades, we believe the best way for the company to give back to our industry is by helping to provide quality training for the next generation.”

The $50,000 gift will support the construction of a new 13,450 square-foot state-of-the-art facility that will help address the province’s skills gap by training approximately 150 students per year for the workforce. The building will include multi-purpose trades shops for the College’s electrical, carpentry, plumbing and pipefitting programs, as well as a dedicated welding shop.

“This gift sends a powerful message to our students when an employer with an exemplary reputation in the community invests in their future,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “It represents the value the Dahlen family places on education and will be truly transformative for trades training in Vernon and the surrounding region.”

Keith Construction has employed several carpenter apprentices from the College’s program and Dahlen knows the benefits that a high-quality education brings to the industry – a value championed by the company’s founder, Keith Dahlen.

“This gift is a fitting way to honour my father and the emphasis he put on learning the proper skills in order to provide quality craftsmanship to our clients,” he says. “He taught me that if you are going to do a job, do it right or don’t do it at all.”

In 1990, Dahlen’s father, a certified journeyman carpenter with more than 25 years of industry experience already under his belt, founded Keith Construction in Vernon. The younger Dahlen and his wife Karen joined the company when they moved to the Okanagan in 1994 and have continued to build on the company’s reputation since Keith’s retirement. Keith Construction has won 21 Georgie Awards, 37 Tommie awards and was voted the 2016 Best Residential Renovation Company (North Okanagan) and 2016 Best Residential Builder (North Okanagan) by Okanagan Life Magazine.

Dahlen recently completed an educational milestone himself – he is one of four in the province who has achieved a Master Residential Builder designation.

At a recent client appreciation event hosted by Keith Construction, the support of the community was demonstrated when an additional $2,580 was raised for the training centre by event attendees.

“Our business has always been about building our clients’ dreams – no matter how big or small. Now we will get to help build the dreams of students,” adds Dahlen.

The $6.2 million-dollar training centre will be constructed by Maple Reinders Inc., a national engineering construction company, with support from MQN Architects, as well as CIMA+ and Encora. The project is being supported primarily through the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. Through this fund, the province of B.C. is investing $2.9 million and the government of Canada has provided $2.7 million. Okanagan College will contribute the remainder of the project cost. 

Construction is scheduled to begin later this month, with completion targeted for the spring of 2018. More information on the project can be found at okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.