By Chris Pickup

Haldimand County is helping some local residents get an educational boost up in collaboration with Mohawk College.

The county is hosting a pilot project in partnership with Mohawk

to offer introductory post-secondary education between May 28 and August 24 this year.

Access to post-secondary education is a barrier for many rural community residents because of insufficient financial resources, the lack of a high school certificate, no public transportation or lack of child care, among other reasons.

Mohawk City School circumvents those problems by bringing the school to the students via mobile training trailer and pop-up college 101 courses.

A survey circulated through local key stakeholders to determine interest brought 40 responses, mostly from Dunnville and Caledonia, the majority from people aged 30 to 59. 70% of respondents indicated they would like to participate both in college credit courses and non-credit workshops.

Business and Human Services Programs ranked first with 21 votes, and Health Studies, Media arts and skilled trades tied for 2nd with 15 votes.

Following extensive consultations, a combined service approach was decided on, with Caledonia Library hosting the site free of charge for College 101 courses. This course will run Thursday and Friday per week from 10 am to 2 pm, from May 24 to June 29.

Dunnville Lifespan back parking lot will host the mobile training trailer. It will take up approximately ten parking spaces and will be powered by diesel generators supplied through the City School.

Two intakes will be offered for the Introduction to Construction module. In addition a one day workshop on Working at Heights has been scheduled. The trailer will be on site May 28 to August 24. An open house will be  scheduled during the week of May 28.

This is a badly needed local initiative because of the shrinking workforce as older workers retire. A 2016 workforce planning survey cited not enough applicants, applicants lacking motivation, attitude or interpersonal abilities, lack of qualifications (education/credentials), and lack of technical skills.

If this pilot program goes well, hopefully it will be repeated in following years.