Investment addresses tech talent challenge in city
The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) is addressing Calgary’s tech talent shortage with an $8.2 million investment in the new SAIT Digital Transformation (DX) Talent Hub.
The DX Talent Hub, which will call downtown Calgary home, will significantly enhance Calgary’s tech talent development infrastructure. The continuing education initiative will address the digital skills gap and help workers and companies transition to the digital economy starting in January 2021.
“The DX Talent Hub is in direct alignment with the support for talent accelerators in the economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy, and will help us continue to embrace advanced technology to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges,” says Mary Moran, President and Chief Executive Officer of Calgary Economic Development and Chief Executive Officer of OCIF. “The downtown campus for the DX Talent Hub strengthens the ties between post-secondaries and the business community and helps us make progress in our goal to create a more vibrant city centre.”
“This is exactly the type of forward-thinking investment that our city needs. The DX Hub is going to train the type of talent that companies need to succeed in the new economy,” says Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who is a member of the OCIF Board of Directors. “If we are looking to solve the world’s biggest problems, having the ecosystem of talent and opportunity is the best way to prepare for that task.”
Mark Blackwell, Chair, OCIF Board of Directors and Dr. David Ross, President & CEO, SAIT / Photo by Keane Straub
Mary Moran, President and Chief Executive Officer of Calgary Economic Development and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi / Photo by Keane Straub
Amanda Stephenson, Reporter, Calgary Herald and Jim Gibson, Chief Catalyst, SAIT School of Advanced Technology / Photo by Keane Straub
OCIF’s funding will be spread out over a five-year period and support foundational digital transformation programming. The DX Talent Hub is part of SAIT’s new School for Advanced Digital Technology (SADT), which received a $30 million donation from Calgarian David Bissett in December 2019.
“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,” said 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 and the DX Talent Hub, 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.”
The SADT and DX Talent Hub will be located in the historic Odd Fellows building and occupy 34,000 sq. ft. of office space in downtown Calgary. The DX Talent Hub will offer highly integrated training programs in digital transformation for individuals and corporate workforces. The training is a customized combination of cultural, behavioral, and technical training.
The DX Talent Hub is expected to produce more than 1,500 graduates, including at least three dozen corporate workforce cohorts, from its Digital Adoption training program within five years. It will also engage hundreds of K-12 students each year to help them explore and build careers in technology. This will lead to the creation of 16 full-time permanent high skills positions.
“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. “OCIF's support of the DX Talent Hub will also play a key role in accelerating digital transformation in Calgary by providing highly trained workers that companies in all sectors need in order to compete in the fast-paced digital economy and on the global stage.”
The SAIT Digital Transformation Hub is the first initiative of its kind in Canada and in addition to the focus on displaced workers it will also provide a pathway to a better future for marginalized groups locally – youth, indigenous communities, and not-for profit organizations.
SAIT is the 12th organization to receive OCIF funding.
The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund is an initiative by The City of Calgary to make strategic investments that spur growth, support ecosystem development and create jobs in sectors identified in the economic strategy Calgary in the New Economy.