7 programs, 45 job cuts announced at College of the North Atlantic

College of the North Atlantic has confirmed it is suspending seven programs in September because of low enrolment.

NAPE presidents calls on government to restore adult basic education program to college system

A spokesperson with the College of the North Atlantic has confirmed that seven programs and 11 permanent positions throughout the public college system are being cut because of low enrolment. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

The College of the North Atlantic has confirmed it is suspending seven programs in September because of low enrolment, resulting in the elimination of 11 permanent positions.

The college also confirmed in a statement Friday afternoon that 34 contractual faculty will be let go as well.

"These decisions, while difficult, are based on the best evidence that we have to determine the potential demand for graduates, their potential for employment and the skills and trades that employers are indicating they need," said interim college president Elizabeth Kidd.

Here is a breakdown of the programs and campuses affected:

  • Welding (Baie Verte)
  • Process operations engineering technology (Corner Brook)
  • Industrial mechanic-millwright (Happy Valley-Goose Bay) 
  • Health informatics (distance learning) 
  • Cooking (Seal Cove)
  • Chemical process engineering technology (Ridge Road campus, St. John's)
  • Construction/industrial electrician (St. Anthony).

The loss of the electrical program means three positions at the St. Anthony campus are being cut. One of the workers is eligible for retirement, while the other two have bumping rights.

Meanwhile, the college spokesperson said five programs that were slated for suspension have been saved because of increasing enrolment. These programs include:

  • Powerline technician (Bay St. George and St. Anthony)
  • Heavy equipment operator (Bonavista and St. Anthony)
  • Carpenter (Happy Valley-Goose Bay).

The cuts come just days after the release of a modernization plan, which revealed some serious problems at the college, which has 17 campuses in Newfoundland and Labrador and one in Qatar.

The plan envisions, among other things, a streamlined college system that offers programming to the needs of the marketplace.

'Death by a thousand slashes'

Many of the faculty losing their jobs are members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees.

Jerry Earle is president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

NAPE president Jerry Earle said these cuts are especially devastating for rural parts of the province, where people can't afford to lose well-paying jobs and quality post-secondary programs.

He blames college leaders for failing to do more to educate the public about the programs, and to recruit potential students.

He also called upon the provincial government to restore adult basic education programming to the college, and said the decision to privatize the program four years ago was a failure — with dramatically higher tuition fees resulting in significantly lower enrolment.

"This is death by a thousand slashes," said Earle.