DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Dawson Creek & District Chamber of Commerce has donated $20,000 for the creation of an endowment fund through the Northern Lights College Foundation to assist students needing pre-requisite safety courses.

The funding will be made available to aspiring dual credited students facing certain challenges to gain basic tickets to get into training programs.

Chamber CEO, Kathleen Connolly, says the funding isn’t specific to the trades and is open to any career path requiring tickets.

“We’re actually quite proud of it. It was a gap that was identified to us through working with the college and some of the other organizations in town,” said Connolly.

The fund started after the chamber donated $10,000 to the college around 2018, and Connolly said it was forgotten about. The foundation then reached out to the chamber and asked them what they wanted to do with donation, and they decided to double it.

“We’re like, well, we’ll throw in another $10,000 to make it an even 20 for the endowment and then hopefully other businesses in the region would join in because it’s not really specific to Dawson Creek, right. It’s really the whole region.”

It was perfect timing for both parties as the chamber had some extra cash sitting around after selling their building last year and were looking to invest it into the community.

With the province expecting more than one million job openings over the next decade, Connolly says the forecast is a “gut check” for employers. By investing in local students, hopefully, the region will reap the benefits in the future.

“They can participate in the economy in a really meaningful way. So it is really about creating that circular economy,” Connolly adds.

Lindsey Borek, executive director of the NLC Foundation, says the organization is grateful for the chamber’s support and looks forward to working with them to bridge the gap identified.

“Working with our donors and creating new opportunities for our students and prospective students is truly amazing and is exactly what we were able to accomplish with the chamber,” Borek said.

The Dawson Creek Chamber of Commerce Training Endowment award will be available for the 2023/2024 school year.