Recent History – 2004-2006
By Gary Rusak — September 7, 2005
Northern Lights College has been swamped with applicants to many of its programs, principal Howard Mayer said on the Friday before the opening of the traditional school year.
“Dawson Creek is beginning to develop,” said Mayer, explaining the increased enrollment this year. “The companies are moving to town. Oil and gas is up, the construction industry is up, and there is a demand for new houses. So, people are coming in and getting trained because the work is there. They are coming to school to get trained so they can get out there and get the jobs.”
Among the college’s most popular offerings this year are plumbing, welding, and the millwright course.
“There has been a significant increase in welding,” Mayer said, estimating that there are 44 students currently enrolled in the program. “It’s completely full. We are running three lines and double shifting the classes. We have lots of applications for welding here in Dawson Creek. Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering is full too.
Also, our residential construction class is full. We probably could have run two classes of it.”
Mayer added that final enrollment numbers are not yet available, but all indications are that the school will be busier than ever. However, a few spots still remain in first and second year academic classes, Adult Basic Education, and plumbing.
“I haven’t pulled the numbers yet,” he said. “But, I think we are going to have quite a significant group here. There are more people in our residence than we have ever had before, so I’m sure we are going to see an increase in numbers here.”
As well, the school’s highly regarded culinary program is already off to a good start. Students began last week and have already served up a business luncheon as part of their training. This year, the college’s newly-refurbished dining room will be open to the public on Oct. 5. A new lunchtime buffet has also been added to the school’s cafeteria.
Entering his second year as principal, Mayer said he is looking forward to helping the community meet its ever-growing need for a skilled workforce.
“I’m excited about it,” he said. “There has never been a better opportunity for young people to get out, get trained and get good jobs. The time is just right. If people are wondering what they should do, they should get into one of these programs, get trained and get out. Within a year they will be making a decent salary.”
Besides students, Mayer said that the community as a whole should feel welcome to utilize the college and its facilities.
“We’re having a lot more community organizations come on to the campus and use the facility and I’m really happy about that,” he said. “I can’t say it enough, this school belongs to the people of this community and they need to use it as such. They have to understand that it belongs to them, they are the ones that pay for it, and we invite them in.”