Keyano College is laying off 19 staff and eliminating its carpentry program.
The post-secondary school announced the changes to their staff on February 21 through a letter from President and CEO Trent Keough.
In the letter, which was obtained by Mix News, he says these decisions are due to the economic uncertainty across the province.
“These cost savings and efficiency initiatives are being made to ensure our financial stability and to assure the sustainability of our College,” writes Keough. “These changes will produce in-year savings, and present opportunities to enhance delivery of both programs and student support services.”
The letter also touches on Keyano’s plan to balance its budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
This focuses on cutting $3 million with these recent layoffs accounting for around $2.1 million. However, they are still looking to cut around $1.7 million as all their reductions and changes have only added $1.3 million to their bottom line.
“These staffing reductions will be accompanied by an organizational restructuring which has yet to take place,” Keough’s letter read. “We have some plans in draft but will need to revise as organizational changes impact our systems and processes.”
Keough mentioned that they can’t guarantee future layoffs won’t happen.
Out of the 19 eliminated positions, eight were held by CUPE members.
CUPE Communication Representative Lou Arab believes the college is, unfortunately, struggling like others across the province.
“This is a direct cut to services that will impact everybody in Fort McMurray because even if you don’t work or study at Keyano this is going to impact the local community and local economy by taking $3 million a year from local businesses.”
As for the carpentry program, the school is eliminating the program after it was suspended by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training due to declining enrollment.
A spokesperson for Alberta’s Advanced Education Ministry noted the program was averaging around 13 apprentices a year and never exceeded 28.
They add the program would have needed to average around 36 apprentices per year to make it financially viable.
Mix News reached out to Keyano multiple times but the college did not want to comment at this time.