Holland College and Collège Acadie are teaming up to allow students to pursue their college diploma in both English and French without leaving the Island.
"This is one where I think we'll all look back a decade from now and realize how important it really was for the two institutions to undertake this collaboration," said Michael O'Grady, the Holland College vice-president responsible for innovation, enterprise and strategic development.
He said the two institutions have been working on the idea for awhile and it's exciting to see it all come together. The French-English training will be available in programs that both colleges offer.
The hope is that the new partnership will encourage more French language and French immersion high school to students stay on P.E.I. for their post-secondary education.
'I think we'll all look back a decade from now and realize how important it really was for the two institutions to undertake this collaboration.'
- Michael O'Grady, Holland College
O'Grady also notes some immersion students lose their language skills if they don't pursue French beyond the high school level.
Provincial officials hope the new partnership will ultimately mean more bilingual workers on the Island, especially in the health and education fields.
Building to open in 2016
Collège Acadie's main teaching facility is located in Wellington, with satellite offices in Charlottetown and Deblois. It is recognized as the only publicly-funded French-language post-secondary institution in the province.
But it currently doesn't have a significant presence in Queens County, where the majority of French immersion students live.
The P.E.I. government will contribute $400,000 to Holland College to renovate a building on the campus on Kent Street in Charlottetown to be occupied by Collège Acadie.
In addition, the province will also contribute $75,000 for new video-conference equipment, a new language lab in Wellington, and for other technology needs for Collège Acadie.
The new Collège Acadie building on the Prince of Wales Campus should be ready for students by the fall of 2016.