A letter to Albertans
In these uncertain days of COVID-19 and the global collapse of oil prices, the story of our province is being rewritten. Our lives and livelihoods have been disrupted; questions outnumber answers. But years from now, when we reflect on how we came through the pandemic of the early 2020s, we will be telling the story of how we reimagined and rebuilt our economy while growing even stronger as a community.
The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) is committed to doing what we do best — partnering with industry to drive innovation and equipping the workforce with essential skills. This week our institution celebrates its newest alumni and reaches the milestone of 250,000 graduates since our inception. These graduates will join members of the SAIT community who are stepping up and leading the response to the crisis, compassionately applying their skills in hospitals, ramping up manufacturing to produce protective equipment and spearheading initiatives to support the most vulnerable.
The world has changed. The way we operate our businesses, the way we teach and the way we learn are forever altered. The urgency and the importance of the digital technology transformation that was underway pre-pandemic have been heightened. Our recovery will depend on a pipeline of adaptable, digitally literate workers who are insatiably curious about what is possible.
SAIT is ready for whatever the future holds. In the coming months, we will launch our new strategic plan — scrutinized against current circumstances, it remains right for our evolving world. Early flagships of the plan include the opening of a new Centre for Continuing Education and Professional Studies and, in downtown Calgary, a new School for Advanced Digital Technology. All students in all programs — career launchers and career changers, those upskilling and those reskilling — will be equipped to thrive in a digital economy.
My confidence in our future, and pride in SAIT’s role in shaping it, comes from history. Our institution opened its doors in 1916 with 11 students and a mandate to train veterans returning from the First World War. Over the years, the school matched community needs by reinventing itself — as a hospital during the Spanish Flu pandemic and as a Royal Canadian Air Force Wireless Training School during the Second World War.
The next chapters of this story will test and challenge us. Rebuilding will take time. But the story is one we will write together, revealing a reinvented and resilient Alberta and a community that is stronger, together.
Dr. David Ross
President and CEO, SAIT