After nearly 10 years, Yukon College has decided to stop offering a program that helps new immigrants prepare for jobs in Canada.
The college announced this week it would not be renewing the contract to host Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Enhanced Language Training program.
The semester-long program is designed to help skilled immigrants find work. It’s a free program that helps with computer skills and preparing for job interviews.
It also introduces students to local professionals and provides them with work experience. And students also get help with child care and transportation.
Yukon College was the only place in the North running the program. The last class there finishes this week.
“There are some fabulous success stories and we’re very proud to have played a small part in some people finding their way and finding their home and making this their home,” said Margaret Dumkee, dean of applied science and management at Yukon College.
The decision not to renew the contract to run the program came down to cost, Dumkee said.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada requires that the program be offered for free. But the money the college got to run things was not enough to cover all of the costs, she said.
In the last fiscal year the college received $160,000 in funding for the program. That’s made up mostly of federal money along with $40,000 from the Yukon government’s Community Training Fund.
But it’s still about $50,000 short, Dumkee said.
“It’s a good program, it’s just not the best fit, and where we’re not getting all the funding that we need to run contract programs we just really have to take a good hard look at that.”
Funding has not covered the cost of the program for the past four years, said Dumkee. And the amount the college has had to cover has been growing, she said.
Dumkee said the college has discussed the funding shortfall with the federal department.
“Our costs as a college exceed what their guidelines allow them to fund, basically is what it comes down to.”
Across Canada, the training is not usually hosted by colleges, she said. That usually falls to a local non-profit.
“I would think that NGOs would have more flexibility in terms of the costs they incur to offer this program than the college does,” Dumkee said.
If an NGO is found that wants to take over, the college is willing to help with the transition, she said.
The Yukon program has had about 160 students over the last 9.5 years.
Three English as a Second Language programs are still being offered at the college.
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