COURTENAY, B.C. – The provincial government is providing funding to North Island College for a new tech certificate program.

The $100,000 will help fund 40 spaces in a new program, which will focus on computer information systems.

“The technology and innovation engine of B.C.’s booming economy requires access to skilled tech talent, and tech companies are hungry for good people,” said Minister of Jobs, Trades and Technology Bruce Ralston, in a release.

“These new tech spaces at North Island College will help up-and-coming innovators find good jobs, while helping local companies get their products to market.”

The college will be consulting with employers during the program’s development stages to shape its framework. The certificate is designed to help students start work as IT professionals in less than a year after graduating.

The program’s location, tuition and curriculum details will be released as the planning continues.

“The provincial funding is greatly appreciated. It will allow us to remain responsive, and keep up with demand for homegrown talent in a dynamic sector that supports many local employers,” said NIC President, John Bowman.

“Funding a new tech program at North Island College will open doors to opportunities in the tech sectors for more students in the region, and across Vancouver Island,” stated North Island MLA Claire Trevena in the release.

Spaces in the program are anticipated to become available for the 2019-2020 school year, and will hit the 40 space mark in 2020-2021.

“Graduates of this program will not only have the chance to find good-paying jobs in a growing sector, they will also help spark innovation locally and across the province,” stated Courtenay-Comox MLA, Ronna-Rae Leonard.

The province plans to add 2,900 tech-related spaces throughout British Columbia to produce 1,000 additional tech grads a year by 2023.

Once the 40 spaces at NIC are fully in place, funding is expected to increase to $400,000 annually.