Media Releases


December 5, 2005

Crown Investments Corporation (CIC) has signed an agreement with the University of Saskatchewan to provide programs and services that will help Aboriginal students achieve success. CIC will contribute $1 million over five years to the university's Aboriginal Student Achievement Program.

The program includes a new recruitment strategy that will provide ongoing support during the initial transition process and beyond. Support programs range from an expanded mentorship program and tutoring, to life skills workshops focusing on time management and goal setting. The program also includes an expanded cultural component, with additional counseling from Elders and more cultural activities such as the popular annual powwow in the Bowl.

"We are pleased to contribute to this initiative because it is vitally important that we encourage more First Nations and Métis people to enroll in university, and that they have support to succeed and attain a degree," Crown Management Board Minister Pat Atkinson said. "A university education will lead to employment opportunities in our Crown corporations and other organizations in Saskatchewan, which will benefit First Nations and Métis people, their communities, and our province as a whole."

CIC's financial commitment to the program is part of a $20 million investment announced in 2003 to create more opportunities for youth and Aboriginal participation in Saskatchewan's Crown corporations. Statistics show that half of the current Crown employees, or about 5,000 people, will retire by 2017. The Crowns will need to replace them with educated, skilled workers.

"We are delighted that CIC is making such a significant investment in the future," Associate Vice-President of Student Services David Hannah said. "By addressing the academic, social, and cultural challenges of post-secondary education, this program will increase Aboriginal student engagement in a wider range of colleges, increase their retention and graduation rate, and lead to greater employment opportunities in the future."

Several of the services and initiatives of the Aboriginal Student Achievement Program have been provided in a limited capacity by the university's Aboriginal Student Centre since it was opened in 1991. CIC's financial contribution will help expand, enhance and focus those programs and services to achieve greater success for students.

"We welcome CIC as a valuable partner in creating opportunities for Aboriginal students and Aboriginal communities," U of S Special Advisor on Aboriginal Initiatives George Lafond said. "By working together with CIC and our Aboriginal partners, we are committed to enhancing the student experience at the U of S."

The U of S has developed a long-term plan for the Aboriginal Student Achievement Program, including the construction of a new Aboriginal Centre. Additional partners are still being sought to help reach these goals.



For More Information, contact:

Karen Schmidt
Crown Investments Corporation
Phone: (306) 787-5889
Cell: (306) 539-2716

Tina Merrifield
University of Saskatchewan
Phone: (306) 966-2213