Premier Christy Clark today participated in celebrations to mark the last 50 years and acknowledge a bright future for Okanagan College.
"For 50 years, Okanagan College hasn't just transformed a community, but the lives of thousands of students," said Premier Clark. "As it prepares people for the jobs of today and tomorrow, the next chapter in its history is just as bright."
Over the last 50 years, more than 53,000 individuals have graduated with at least one credential - certificate, diploma or degree - from Okanagan College.
Future plans include the expansion and renovation of the trades-training facilities on Okanagan College's Kelowna Campus. A $33-million investment will make sure that future welders, heavy-duty mechanics, electricians, plumbers and other skilled workers get the training they need. Completion is estimated for spring 2016.
"I am proud of the contribution that Okanagan College students have made over the past 50 years - and will continue to make in the future," said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. "Congratulations to students past, present and future, and to the instructors and staff who have invested their passion in educating and training so many citizens."
Today, Okanagan College offers post-secondary education at four campuses: Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm.
"The decision 50 years ago to invest in trades-training facilities here has had an immeasurable impact in the region," said Okanagan College board of governors' chair, Tom Styffe. "We've continued this legacy benefiting students, industry, the community, the college and government."
In 1960, the federal government offered funds under the Technical and Vocational Training Assistance Act, which provided provincial governments with up to 75-per-cent assistance toward the cost of new buildings and equipment. Kelowna signed up, and in 1963 Premier W.A.C. Bennett, himself from Kelowna, opened the $1.7-million B.C. Vocational School - Kelowna. This marked the beginning of Okanagan College.
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