Thunder Bay

Confederation College's TEC Hub gets financial boost from federal government

Confederation College's soon-to-be opened TEC Hub has received a financial boost from the Canadian government.

FedNor announces $1 million in funding to be used for equipment

MP Don Rusnak (Thunder Bay-Rainy River) announces $1 million in FedNor funding for Confederation College's new TEC Hub on Wednesday. (Kris Ketonen/CBC)

Confederation College's soon-to-be opened TEC Hub has received a financial boost from the Canadian government.

The government, through FedNor, announced $1 million in funding for the TEC Hub on Wednesday. The money, college president Jim Madder said, will be used to purchase equipment for the new, 45,000-square-foot building, which is expected to be open in time for the upcoming school year.

"We're moving some of our existing equipment into that building," Madder said. "But it allows us to add in top-end CNC (Computer Numerical Control) equipment for computer-based manufacturing, top-end prototyping equipment, a whole variety of makerspace equipment that'll actually allow us to have high school students be able to come in."

Attracting students

"It's training for our own students, training for our high school students, it's attracting more students to those programs as well," he said. "That million dollars multiplies itself out many many times."

Thunder Bay-Superior North MP and federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour, Patty Hajdu said the TEC Hub will help fill gaps between education and employment.

"One of the things that I've heard frequently from a variety of different employer groups is that although young people, new graduates, are coming out with excellent academic or study skills, that it doesn't always fit the workforce," she said.

"They're finding a gap between what students are sometimes learning, and the knowledge that they expect them to have."

Hands-on learning

Hajdu said the TEC Hub will give students an opportunity for hands-on learning, and give them access to equipment they'll be using when they enter the workforce.

"FedNor is investing in economic development, and we need to train for the jobs of now and the future," said Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Don Rusnak.

"This project is truly going to help students, especially in the far north, gain those skills for the jobs that exist now at places like Bombardier and other advanced manufacturing facilities around here."

The college is trying to raise $5 million to fully equip the TEC Hub, which is located on the Thunder Bay campus. Madder said that total hasn't yet been reached, but added that fundraising efforts should clear $4 million within "the next couple of months."