Mount Currie promotes learning through partnership with Whistler 

The Mount Currie Indian Band is teaming up with the Resort Municipality of Whistler to develop a community learning program.

Christine Leo, the Mount Currie band's economic development officer, said the program will help her community continue to grow and develop.

"The program will recognize learning skills that aren't acknowledged by the formal education system," she said.

The local partnership hopes to strengthen employment opportunities in both Mount Currie and Whistler by increasing the number of learning opportunities.

"We're trying to promote lifelong learning," said Stephanie Wells, the Whistler Chamber of Commerce's training co-ordinator.

Program highlights in Mount Currie include strengthening the traditional knowledge base, increasing the understanding of information technologies and enhancing economic development.

"It's valuable to include traditional knowledge," said Leo.

In Whistler, the program will include an education and learning centre that will act as an information hub in support of various training initiatives.

The program, which is in the early stages of development, has already received $25,000 from HRDC.

The RMOW-Mount Currie partnership will be seeking $300,000 in additional funding to implement the program as a three-year pilot project.

According to Wells, the funding should be in place and the program up and running by next April.

Other program participants include the Whistler Public Library, School District No. 48 and Capilano College.

The learning community program was launched by HRDC in 1998. There are currently three other B.C. communities – Lillooet, Lumby and Upper Skeena – involved in the program.

The Mount Currie band is currently involved in a number of other economic development initiatives, such as hiring programs with Whistler-Blackcomb and the Miller Creek hydroelectric project.

The band also partnered with Tourism Whistler and the Squamish Nation this past summer for the Weetama Aboriginal Festival, and is in the early stages of developing a cultural tourism centre with the RMOW.

Leo said she is looking forward to the learning community program.

"We're pleased to be working in this partnership," she said. "It means we're continuing to move in the right direction."

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