Sherman vows $76M ESL boost
Language skills program will train on the job
The Alberta Liberals say funding for English as a second language (ESL) programs would get a $76-million boost if the party forms government after the April 23 election.
There’s “a whole bunch of Albertans who come from far and wide to participate in our prosperity and to contribute, but they’re not able to,” Sherman said in Calgary on Friday, standing with candidates and supporters across from Lester B. Pearson High School.
“This government is failing to fully develop our human resource,” Sherman said. “This is just as dumb as leaving oil under the ground.”
Under his party’s plan to bring more new Albertans into the workforce, annual ESL funding to schools would be boosted by 50 per cent from current levels, while an extra $20 million would be spent on adult ESL training each year.
The Liberals would also establish a program that would allow new Canadians to increase their language skills while on the job.
Sherman said in the next decade, Alberta businesses will be hit by increasing labour shortages, estimated to top more than 77,000 workers.
The party has also promised to increase settlement funding and streamline the process so trained newcomers have their foreign credentials recognized.
Friday’s announcement was part of Sherman’s third trip to Calgary since the election was called last month.