The infrastructure wish lists of post-secondary institutions in Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie are being fulfilled after the federal and provincial governments went on a funding tear.

Confederation College and a First Nations training institute received a combined $20.76 million in federal and provincial funding for construction of a new campus building and for skilled trades training.

The Thunder Bay college landed $18 million for its Technology Education and Collaboration Hub, “TEC Hub,” which begins construction next spring.

The building will feature new workshop and lab space and will bring the college’s apprenticeship, trades and technology programs together in one building.

Ottawa and Queen’s Park are each contributing $9 million. Confederation College and other partners will provide an additional $1.96 million.

Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute receives $2.7 million in federal funding to enable the institute, through its trades training mobile lab, to provide specialized training for First Nations people in 49 communities across the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

The funding is also earmarked to upgrade the trades labs at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School.

“We are excited by the huge potential a mobile trades trailer lab transportable by truck will have for specialized and trades training for Indigenous learners living in communities of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation,” said Rosie Mosquito, executive director of the Oshki-Pimache-O-Win. “This will allow us to deliver plumbing, mechanical and electrical training to Indigenous learners, which will enable them to meet the needs of communities that normally have to rely on fly-in tradespeople at huge expense. This will position Indigenous peoples for well-paying jobs.”

Confederation College president Jim Madder was similarly thrilled.

“Through the TEC Hub, Confederation College will be poised to play an integral role in the future of the manufacturing, technology and resource sectors for our region.”

In Thunder Bay, the PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise and the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre received a combined $2 million from FedNor, with the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund contributing $100,000 toward PARO.

Institutions in Sault Ste. Marie also scored big with $23.5 million allocated to Algoma University, Sault College and the Shingwauk Education Trust.

The college landed $15.6 million to create an Institute for Environment Education and Entrepreneurship (iE3), aimed at establishing a centre of excellence in forestry and clean tech, which will include activities in bioenergy, water management, land rehabilitation and forest management.

The province is providing $10.6 million, the feds $5 million, with the college contributing $500,000.

Algoma receives $2.9 million for upgrades to its mechanical and lighting systems in order to deliver e-learning programs and will advance its mission for cross-cultural and Aboriginal learning in the Anishinaabe community. Ottawa is contributing $2.5 million, the province nearly $400,000 with the university kicking in $2.14 million.

Shingwauk Education Trust gets $5 million to establish the Anishinabek Discovery Centre, which will house the National Chiefs Library, the Training Centre of Excellence, interpretive teaching and cultural spaces, and a state-of-the-art event venue.