Wednesday, 23 October 2013 14:59

New Swift Current Chamber CEO has faith in GPC

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Great Plains College has a big fan and a rather important one too.

Darla Lindbjerg, the new chief executive officer of the Swift Current Chamber of Commerce, likes what she sees from the post-secondary institution.
She believes they have a vital role, not only in education, but for contributing to the well being of the southwest’s business sector. It’s a role she believes they are doing well, especially with course diversity. This helps students get into the workforce more easily.
“Nothing is ever good with stagnation,” she explains ,adding the college has brought in new courses and has done some good things to ensure the program and focus stays fresh and up-to-date.
“You evolve, and you adapt to the needs of the community.”
Lindbjerg says some organizations and businesses can’t expand fast enough so a solid base of workers is needed. She gives a lot of credit to Anika Henderson’s Imagine Immigration & Consulting Services and her work with immigration and the employment sector.
Lindbjerg says with both the college and Imagine, the southwest has some good people in place to help with the ever-evolving workforce issues.
“The biggest issues for (local) business owners based on what I hear is shortage of workers, (finding) skilled workers and post-secondary training,” explains Lindbjerg. “The college plays a huge role in (alleviating) some of those issues.”
It’s critical that well-trained graduates continue to come forth for the business sector to grow.
Lindbjerg says she always wants to help and would be open to brainstorming or assisting the college in any way possible to continue to improve the working relationship the college has with the Swift Current business community. She says anything the two entities can do to improve the business climate as well as make the college and even more lucrative and attractive place for students and employers can only help both parties.
“I would love to see some mentorship programs. Education is great, but mentorship combined with it is always a recipe for success,” explains Lindbjerg. “I wouldn’t want to tell them what to do for sure, but just offer help. It’s nice to have developed relationships there already. That’s important to any business is communicating.
“I feel fortunate I have those relationships with Karen (Richmond, region manager), and Marc (Butikofer, director of development) in place so we can have those conversations. We’re fortunate to have the college here.”
Lindbjerg went to the college in 2003-2004 and took business courses. She had earlier aspirations for becoming a member of the RCMP, but she instead happily started a family and the rest as they say is history.
She is proud of the Great Plains College. The renovations to much of the on-campus infrastructure have been impressive and improved the departments which needed upgrades. These changes coincide with the different and evolving programs offered there.
Lindbjerg also gives credit to the Great Plains College for improving the athletics program, getting out into the community in regards to contributing and being a good corporate citizen, and building up a proud alumni base.
“They are doing well with things beyond the control of the college (i.e. funding),” explains Lindbjerg. “They are doing well with what they have.
“They have made huge strides in engaging alumni.”
Before becoming the chief executive officer at Swift Current and District Chamber of Commerce in September, she had been with the Swift Current United Way as executive director since May 2012, as well as an analyst with the Living Skies Housing Authority.
Lindbjerg was no stranger to the Chamber as she was a director from 2008-2010 and then again in 2012.
She is a proud alumnus of Great Plains College and notes just like for many previous graduates, the time spent there was beneficial.
“It’s an asset to the area. Without that facility, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” explains the energetic and creative Lindbjerg. “The staff was wonderful and the connections I made were great.”

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor