News and Events

On Campus: For every action

February 5, 2015
Written by Mark Keller, director of college advancement
Featured in"On Campus" in the Medicine Hat News

The price of oil is down, the government is concerned about balancing the books, and some businesses are forced to scale back on both investment and jobs.

It’s fair to ask, what will the enrolment impact be at Medicine Hat College?

A physics lesson might seem an odd answer, but Newton’s third law of motion fits the situation.

If you remember high school physics, Sir Isaac’s third law states, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” You experience that law in everyday life when you discover the need for traction under your feet as you push a car stuck in a snow bank.

Applying the concept to today’s economy is easy. If you think about a slowing economy as one action, the equal and opposite reaction at MHC is increasing enrolment. Quite simply, fewer jobs equates to more students.

We even have data that proves the point.

The college has charted and compared Alberta’s unemployment rate to enrolment in upgrading programs on campus. When there were fewer jobs in the early 1980s, enrolment here increased. As the availability of jobs increased into 2006, enrolment in upgrading here declined. The situation changed rapidly but predictably with the economic crunch in 2007.

Assuming the pattern holds true, and the price of oil remains low, we can expect more people to reconsider their jobs and career paths. And since education offers an effective way of developing employable skills and knowledge, the college may well encounter an enrolment surge.

So what might this all mean?

First, it reinforces the notion that the college is a valuable asset for individuals and the region.

For example, anyone feeling concerned about work, and considering their options, could look to the college’s academic advisors for help. They can explain the world of postsecondary education, how past education and experience can be leveraged into the future, and let you know about learning options here and elsewhere.

Businesses too can find opportunity in the situation and at the college. As I noted in a recent column, the federal and provincial governments have combined to offer an employer-driven grant program to support workplace learning. We can explain the process, let you know about training options available now, and work with you to build exactly what you need to succeed.

Medicine Hat College is here for you.

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