Dec 01, 2020
Shannon van Leenen
Media Relations Officer
Alberta Post-Secondaries Offering Smart Opportunities in Artificial Intelligence
Four Alberta post-secondary institutions are making careers in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) accessible and available right here in Alberta.
The AI Pathways Partnership (AIPP), a consortium made up of NorQuest College, Athabasca University, Concordia University of Edmonton, and Bow Valley College, in collaboration with Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute and made possible through funding provided by Western Economic Diversification Canada, have joined together with industry partners to train learners and retain graduates for Alberta’s dynamic AI and ML industry.
Alberta is home to several world class and globally recognized AI and ML research hubs. The AIPP helps connect learners to flexible, career-focused education from high school to post-secondary and graduate level credit and non-credit programs. Any Albertan who wants to start a career in AI will be able to do so right from high school, or build on learning and skills they have acquired through other post-secondary programs or work experience in a way that suits their needs, aspirations, and timelines.
Programs begin in 2021 and include technical, business, and professional interpersonal skills: competencies identified as being crucial for success by employers and industry organizations. Additionally, this project will also create support and opportunities for AI entrepreneurs and innovators in collaboration with Alberta AI industry partners and support organizations.
“Alberta is rapidly establishing itself as a global leader in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning, thanks in part to its leading-edge firms and post-secondary institutions,” says the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada. “This collaboration between Western Economic Diversification Canada and the AI Pathways Partnership will lead to dynamic new learning opportunities for students entering this field, while also creating a pipeline of highly qualified personnel to further bolster this emerging high-tech sector.”
“This partnership is a great example of Alberta’s post-secondary institutions doing what they do best- putting student success first,” says Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education. “These programs will give students the skills and training they need for promising careers right here at home.”
"At Athabasca University, partnerships like the AIPP help us to support Alberta learners in reaching their educational goals,” says Matthew Prineas, Provost and Vice President Academic. “Whether they take a course, a certificate, or an entire degree with us, we want our learners to be able to bring their existing knowledge to AU and gain a higher education that will give them the skills to thrive in Alberta’s rapidly evolving workforce.”
“Bow Valley College is proud to be a part of this consortium creating pathways to new, exciting careers for Albertans in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning,” says Paulette Hanna, Vice President, Academic at Bow Valley College. She goes on to say, “Rapid upskilling in emerging technologies like AI will be critical as our province looks to diversify its economy and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Our collective success relies on the diversification of our economy,” says Dr. Manfred Zeuch, Vice President, External Affairs and International Relations at Concordia University of Edmonton. “The AI Pathways Partnership provides an opportunity for Albertans to build skills and advance the application of artificial intelligence across industries. We are proud to be part of this consortium and look forward to connecting with students and partners across the province.”
“We prepare students for the future of work, where flexible and fast education is a necessity,” says Norma Schneider, Vice President, Academic at NorQuest College. “The Pathways Partnership seizes on the outstanding opportunity for AI in Alberta with multiple entry and exit points for learners—regardless of where they to begin or where they want to go.”
About Bow Valley College: Calgary and region’s largest College — with 17,500 full- and part-time students, Bow Valley College is a leader in business, technology, health, community studies, adult upgrading, and English Language Learning.
About NorQuest College: NorQuest College is Edmonton’s community college serving over 19,000 students annually throughout the province with full-time, part-time, online, and face-to-face learning options. NorQuest helps learners with diverse educational backgrounds complete or further their studies through foundational programs. Our post-secondary diploma and certificate programs and continuing education options offer rewarding career paths in health, community studies, business, environment, technology, hospitality, firefighting, and diversity and inclusion training. Our suite of customized and corporate training options ensure organizations and their workforces are prepared for the demands of the future. By collaborating with business, industry, government, and communities, we ensure our learners receive workforce relevant, inclusive, and transformative educational experiences.
About Athabasca University: Athabasca University (AU), Canada’s Online University, is one of the world’s foremost and fastest-growing online and open education institutions, serving more than 43,000 learners across 87 countries. AU is the fifth largest university in Canada and one of four Comprehensive Academic and Research Universities in Alberta. AU offers online bachelor’s, master's, and doctoral programs alongside online courses for personal and professional development. It is uniquely founded on the principles of flexibility and openness, giving learners control over their studies so they can obtain higher education whenever and wherever it is right for them. For more information, please visit www.athabascau.ca.
About Concordia University of Edmonton: Concordia University of Edmonton is Canada’s pre-eminent small university, offering over 45 majors and minors in the fields of arts, science, and management, as well as two after-degree programs, several master’s degrees, and several graduate certificates and diplomas. In and out of our classrooms and lecture halls, we translate what we learn into extraordinary hands-on experiences. We live and work on a small campus, a river valley oasis, but Edmonton is our workshop. Our ultimate goal has not changed since 1921: to be more than students and professors, to create a community of active citizens, of good and honourable people. For more information, visit https://concordia.ab.ca/.