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Inland donation drives home local industry support for Okanagan College’s trades campaign
Okanagan College Media Release

Inland Donation April 2015Engines were revving and the crowd was cheering as a big cheque was presented to Okanagan College at Inland Kenworth’s open house on Saturday.

Inland has pledged $50,000 to the Bright Horizon’s Building for Skills Campaign. “The Smoking Gun”, a 1968 Canadian Kenworth diesel drag semi, roared in the background as the Inland team presented the cheque to Okanagan College Foundation’s John Haller at the company’s West Kelowna location on Ross Road.

The donation will help build a bay in the new three-storey Trades Training Complex currently under construction along KLO Road. 

“The new trades training complex will elevate the Southern Interior as a hub for trades training, by providing students with a world-class facility to match the high quality of instruction that Okanagan College has offered for more than fifty years,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We’re very grateful to Inland for investing in the future of our students and our campus.”

“We’re very proud to call the Okanagan home,” says Boyd McConnachie, vice president of business development at Inland. “It is key to the economy that local businesses and organizations work together to develop our own homegrown talent.” 

Inland originated in the Okanagan over 65 years ago, with operations in Vernon, Penticton and Kamloops. The West Kelowna facility is the most recent addition, opening for business last fall. Inland now owns dealerships throughout Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and B.C. and the Yukon Territories in Canada. 

The BC-based company is a strong supporter of apprenticeship. As a way of promoting and encouraging Red Seal Training, Inland provides apprentices with tools, mentorship, and other support to help them begin their careers. 

“Inland is well known for employees who spend their whole careers with the company,” says Kent Brownlow, vice president of human resources at Inland. “To hold on to that loyalty, we must invest in training and provide opportunities for our employees to continuously learn and improve their skills and expertise.” 

The Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign for the $33-million complex renovation and expansion project launched in October 2014. The project includes a 10,000 sq. metre renovation and expansion, including new construction and bringing the College’s existing shops and classroom spaces up to LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge standards. When doors open in 2016, the new facility will accommodate over 2,400 students, almost doubling capacity for trades training at the Kelowna campus. Okanagan College is currently the second largest trades training institution in B.C.

The provincial government has committed $28 million to the project. The goal of the campaign is to top this up by raising $5 million for capital construction costs and $2 million for program and student support—which includes entrance awards and other assistance to help students start training.

To learn more about the campaign’s current needs and opportunities to get involved, please visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign