CNA to launch new IT program in 2021

$500,000 FSC donation funds pilot program

11/30/2020 1:41:54 PM

CNA to launch new IT program in 2021
$500,000 FSC donation funds pilot program

STEPHENVILLE, NL – College of the North Atlantic (CNA) will launch two deliveries of a new information technology pilot program beginning next year. The Information Technology Career Focus program, aimed towards equity-seeking groups, is scheduled for delivery in the Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 semesters.

This introductory, skills-based pilot program is made possible through over $500,000 in funding received from the Future Skills Centre (FSC) as part of a larger $4.3-million investment for two new partnerships in Atlantic Canada.

The funding for CNA’s program comes from its involvement in the Atlantic Colleges Atlantique’s (ACA) College Transformation des Collèges project as an associated college. The project focuses on skills gaps in priority sectors that need to be addressed by the regions post-secondary education system.

“These initiatives embody a key element of FSC’s strategic vision: effecting change at both the grassroots and systemic levels,” said Pedro Barata, Executive Director of FSC. “By focusing on challenges that exist at the level of a single profession and at a wider level in our educational systems, respectively, the projects are primed to deliver findings that we hope can be applied to other entities both within and beyond Atlantic Canada.”

The funding, which was announced last week, will go towards seven pilot projects; one in each of the seven public institutions that make up the ACA. The projects will pair human-centred design research with practical applications, with a focus on testing high-impact innovations that can transform the college system.

The technology sector in Newfoundland and Labrador is a vibrant industry that is experiencing incredible growth. Valued at $1.6 billion, there are currently over 80 digital technology firms in the province, which make up 4.8 per cent of the labour force and employs over 3,900 people.

Stephen Warren, Dean of CNA’s School of Business and Information Technology, says the new program will address this growing need for skilled information technology workers in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“The primary goal of the Information Technology Career Focus pilot program is to reduce barriers related to access and support for members of equity-seeking groups, specifically persons with disabilities,” Warren explained. “These individuals are a key source of underutilized talent that can be critical to filling employment demand in sectors across the economy. The pilot programs will assist students to develop confidence, technical skills, and provide hands-on work experience which will enable them to build their careers. A second pilot program will target women; however, our goal is that all groups, including older workers and the indigenous, be provided with the same opportunities.”

“This collaboration is an opportunity for CNA to meet the challenges of underrepresented groups in our region,” added CNA President and CEO, Liz Kidd. “We are confident this program will also provide employers access to a local talent supply while building a more inclusive, accessible, diverse workforce in the Information and Communications Technology sector.”

CNA’s Information Technology Career Focus project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre. For more information about the Information Technology programs available at CNA, visit:

Future Skills Centre is a forward-thinking research and collaboration hub dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success and meeting the emerging talent needs of employers. As a pan-Canadian community, FSC brings together experts and organizations across sectors to rigorously identify, assess, and share innovative approaches to develop the skills needed to drive prosperity and inclusion. FSC is directly involved in innovation through investments in pilot projects and academic research on the future of work and skills in Canada. The Future Skills Centre is funded by the Government of Canada's Future Skills program.

Formed in 2018, ACA is the association of the seven public institutions delivering full college
programming in Atlantic Canada. Member institutions are: College of the North Atlantic; Holland College; Collège de l’Île; Nova Scotia Community College; Université Sainte-Anne; New Brunswick Community College; and Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick. Combined, ACA members have over 40 campuses, many in rural communities, and train over 60,000 full and part-time students annually. The institutions directly contribute $500 million in payroll and day-to-day spending to the region’s economy.

The College Transformation des Collèges project has an overall budget of $4.3 million, with the Future Skills Centre contributing $3.45 million and member colleges contributing $850,000 in funding and in-kind services. The project consists of seven pilot projects — one in each college — and will be completed by September 2023. The project pairs human-centered design research with practical applications, with a focus on testing high-impact innovations that can transform the college system. It will also focus on equity-seeking groups.

Media Contact:

Glenda McCarthy
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic