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School for Advanced Digital Technology to boost Calgary’s tech-talent pipeline

A new course for the future marks SAIT’s boldest transformation yet

In the heart of downtown Calgary, under the watchful eye of the iconic Wonderland sculpture, lies SAIT’s newest venture — a beacon of progress in a digital age.

On Wednesday, Sept. 9, SAIT announced the opening of its new School for Advanced Digital Technology (SADT) in the historic Odd Fellows building. As a flagship initiative of our 2020-2025 strategic plan, New World. New Thinking. SADT will infuse digital literacy and technology training into new and existing programs that are in demand and industry driven.

The transformative initiative supports SAIT’s vision of boosting the local talent pool with tech-savvy grads who get hired.

A new course for the future marks SAIT’s boldest transformation yet
SAIT President and CEO Dr. David Ross announces the details of SAIT’s new School for Advanced Digital Technology

Bridging the skills gap, rebuilding the economy

The future is digital, and SADT will play a key role as Calgary and the world look to respond with a readied workforce. Offering fast-track digital learning for new students, recent grads and all alumni, and upskilling through Continuing Education, Professional Studies and Corporate Training, the school will fill a need for digital development and catalyze the digital economy.

“Our goal is to ensure students — whether they are career starters or career changers — have the digital literacy, personal agility and entrepreneurial spirit to succeed in a future powered by technology,” says Dr. David Ross, SAIT President and CEO.

“SAIT is committed to being part of rebuilding our economy, and through the School for Advanced Digital Technology we are creating a tech-savvy talent pipeline — positioning SAIT graduates as the ones to hire, and Calgary as a city that can meet the talent needs of any business.”

Take a look at SAIT’s new School for Advanced Digital Technology

Sparked by a $30-million donation to SAIT from Calgary businessman and philanthropist David Bissett in December 2019, SADT is now receiving support from additional partners through programming and funding.

Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF)

As part of SADT, Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) is seeding the startup of a Digital Transformation (DX) Talent Hub with up to $8.2 million over five years. With a shared commitment to build Calgary’s tech-talent ecosystem, funding for the DX Talent Hub from OCIF will further support technology skills development for Calgarians and attract business investment.

“The foundation of any thriving technology and innovation ecosystem is a robust pipeline of talent, and SAIT, with the launch of the DX Talent Hub, will be a critical building block in achieving this in Calgary,” said Mark Blackwell, Chair of the OCIF Board of Directors.

With highly-integrated training programs in digital transformation for individuals and corporate workforces, the DX Talent Hub will play a key role in accelerating digital transformation in Calgary. Training will provide a combination of technical and experiential learning, and build cultural and behavioural awareness towards digital adoption. Funding will also support a youth outreach program to promote a practical understanding of digital transformation among youth, while providing opportunities and demonstrated career pathways through the program and the broader SADT.

Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute

Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute is working with SAIT and TECHNATION to bring their Advanced Digital and Professional Training (ADaPT) program to SADT, and to expand the program to recent graduates of any post-secondary school. The ADaPT program gives students a leg up at no cost — it’s free to students accepted into the program, funded by the Government of Canada through the Future Skills Centre.

“We are pleased to bring the ADaPT program to SADT and to partner with SAIT and TECHNATION to provide skills training and digital competencies to young people to improve their chances of employment and meet the skills gap shortage employers are facing,” says Dr. Wendy Cukier, Founder and Academic Director of the Diversity Institute.

A digital trailblazer at the helm

If you’re inspired by digital disruption, you know at the core of Calgary’s growing tech ecosystem is Jim Gibson — a connector and catalyst. Passionate, infinitely curious and a serial entrepreneur, Gibson has spent three decades anticipating, adopting and advancing technology trends and challenges.

Now, he’s ready to take the helm of SADT as Chief Catalyst. It’s a role he believes he’s been preparing for his entire career.

Jim Gibson, Chief Catalyst, School for Advanced Digital Technology
Jim Gibson, Chief Catalyst, School for Advanced Digital Technology

Gibson co-founded Rainforest Alberta in 2016 to advance innovation in the province. Most recently, he co-founded Thin Air Labs, which funds early-stage, entrepreneur-led technology ventures and networks. Including remaining a partner with Thin Air Labs, Gibson is a board member and advisor to Alberta Innovates, The A100, Mikata Health, Beakerhead and Venture Mentoring Services of Alberta.

As leader of a school focused on impact, Gibson is ready to embrace digital disruption, cultivate local talent and accelerate businesses.

He’s ready for both the future we see coming and the one we haven’t imagined yet.

“I have come to appreciate that some of the best technologies, innovations and breakthroughs will come from places in our global economy where we least expect,” says Gibson.

The future starts now

Get the skills needed to thrive in a digital world. Explore programs and courses available through the School for Advanced Digital Technology. Together, we’re building what’s next.

Missed the SADT announcement? Watch the recorded event below.

New World. New Thinking.

Learn more about our new course for the future #hereatsait

SAIT'S
2020-2025
Strategic plan

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