By Amy Badry
Hugh MacDonald has been an MLA for Edmonton-Gold Bar for 14 years. He is active on many government committees, including the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund and Public Safety and Services. In his first term MacDonald took on the role of opposition critic for labour and continues his critique of the Tory government, now the critic responsible for employment and immigration as well as infrastructure.
“The number one issue facing young Albertans is job training, so that they can have good careers with good incomes,” said MacDonald.
He is concerned about Alberta’s large high school drop out rate.
“We have to encourage people to finish their high school and then encourage them to go to a post-secondary institute.”
He told the Gauntlet he encourages young people to go on to post-secondary not only to earn a higher income, but a higher quality of life. In order to address the high dropout rate, he suggested “a focused effort to encourage students” begining early in a young person’s education.
When more students enter post-secondary, he believes Alberta’s economy becomes more diversified.
“We are certainly relient and we all appreciate the jobs that the energy sector does generate, but if we are to diversify our economy we need to do that with a highly skilled, well-educated workforce,” he said. “The more skills our work force has, the more competitive we are.”
MacDonald also mentioned an endowment fund to make post-secondary education accessible for young Albertans.
“That is what I have been proposing all summer on my leadership campaign, that we set up endowments for every post-secondary institution so they can use part of the investment revenue stream they get annually and so they can pay their operating costs.”