Assiniboine Community College looking to add 600 ag student seats with new Prairie Innovation Centre

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The Manitoba government is investing up to $10 million in a new facility that’s projected to add around 600 seats for agriculture and food processing students at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon.

Premier Heather Stefanson announced the funding for the proposed Prairie Innovation Centre for Sustainable Agriculture as part of her opening ceremony address at Manitoba Ag Days on Tuesday.

“This going to be huge for the future of our province,” noted Stefanson.

ACC President Mark Frison and Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson speak with media at Manitoba Ag Days.
ACC president Mark Frison and Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson speak with media at Manitoba Ag Days.

Planning for the Prairie Innovation Centre has been underway since 2017, in an effort to address labor market vacancies in the ag sector and help with the advanced processing sector, explains ACC president Mark Frison, in the interview below. “As you know, we’ve had $2 billion in external investment over the last couple of years in Manitoba’s ag processing sector, and so this project allows us to bring in programs and things like chemical technology, food science technology, industrial automation, things that will help with the sector and take ag to the next level.”

ACC is planning 16 new or expanded educational programs together with the centre, which is to be built on its North Hill Campus. The college projects the new centre would increase enrolment to nearly 900 from the current level of 300.

The school has already raised $16.5 million from private sector donors. Frison says the provincial funding is the final step required to open the tender for the project and begin construction. He says they’re planning to go to tender by the fall of 2023.

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