EDMONTON -- Grande Prairie Regional College in northern Alberta has been granted polytechnic status, enabling it to offer apprenticeship programming as well as degrees on its own.

“This move will ensure students will be able to meet their educational needs in their own backyard.

“Empowering students with job-ready skills helps grow the community, and attracts new investment to the province,” said advanced education minister Demetrios Nicolaides.

Grande Prairie is located some 400 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

Its regional college also has a secondary campus in Fairview, another 100 kilometres north.

“[Polytechnic status] positions our institution to meet the labour market needs for highly skilled graduates, and to support the broader aspirations of northwestern Alberta,” acting president and CEO Glenn Feltham said in a statement.

“Today is a momentous day for GPRC.”

The government says it is still review another proposal by the college to offer a computer science bachelor program.

Earlier in the month, Red Deer College also was designated as a polytechnic.