Sunrise Credit Union donates $1M to Assiniboine for enhanced agricultural training

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BRANDON, Man. (October 19, 2020)— Assiniboine has received a major donation of $1 million from Sunrise Credit Union, the largest philanthropic donation in the college’s history, to support agricultural training opportunities at the college.

“This is a strong partnership because we naturally align with Assiniboine Community College in our values and visions. Our joint commitment to supporting the agricultural community is key to the economic strength of our region,” said Sunrise Credit Union President & CEO Tim Klassen. “Expanding the agricultural educational programming at Assiniboine will not only help keep students in rural Manitoba, it will help meet the demand for highly-skilled workers in this field.”

The vision for expanding agriculture at Assiniboine comes in the form of the Prairie Innovation Centre for Sustainable Agriculture. This facility is Assiniboine’s response to labour market demands in agriculture and will enable the agriculture sector to continue to be an economic driver in the Canadian and Manitoban economy.

“The college has long focused on providing leadership in agriculture and this donation is a significant step toward this major undertaking in expanding training to meet current and emerging labour demands,” said Mark Frison, president at Assiniboine.  “The Prairie Innovation Centre brings the next generation of ag, environment and technology forward.”

The Prairie Innovation Centre will combine indoor and outdoor learning spaces for seamless, hands-on training experiences and aims to expand seats from less than 300 to more than 800 students in agriculture, environment and related technology programs.

“Partnerships like this, between industry and post-secondary, are paramount to supporting our economy and labour needs,” said Ralph Eichler, Minister of Economic Development and Training. “Agriculture is an important industry and an economic driver in our province. With this strong showing of industry support, the agriculture sector is in good hands.”

With expanded agricultural offerings, the college will also be able to grow the opportunities and vision related to agriculture careers.

“Agricultural careers extend far beyond farming and this will provide a venue to turn students’ heads toward the great possibilities in agriculture and food production,” said Johanne Ross, Executive Director of Agriculture in the Classroom Canada, who serves as co-chair of the Prairie Innovation Centre Campaign Cabinet. “This Centre will surely create an increased interest in agriculture and related careers that will support industry demands and bring Western Manitoba to the forefront.”

This major donation from Sunrise Credit Union kicks off a large capital campaign to provide a home-grown hub for agriculture innovation and build the academic heart of agricultural and environmental education in Western Manitoba.

“In Manitoba, agriculture connects us all, directly or indirectly,” added Glenn Young, Chair of Sunrise Credit Union’s Board of Directors. “A community’s ability to foresee, adapt to, and leverage changing conditions to their advantage is a key to economic resiliency. The Prairie Innovation Centre is the right project at the right time. As our roots are in agriculture, Sunrise Credit Union is excited to support this important project.”

(submitted)