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Keyano College

Keyano College is a comprehensive community institution in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Stretching from north-central Alberta to the borders of Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, Wood Buffalo is one of the largest municipalities in Canada. Established as the Alberta Vocational Centre in 1965, the institution changed its name to Keyano (a Cree word for “sharing”) College 10 years later. Over the years, Keyano’s programs and services have grown with the community, reflecting the changing demands and interests of the region, its broadening multicultural orientation, and constantly changing technologies. Throughout this time, Keyano has proactively positioned itself as a community builder meeting both the training and skills acquisition needs of industry, and the personal enrichment and cultural needs of the Wood Buffalo community.

Keyano served nearly 3,100 distinct credit students in 2014/15 through campuses in Fort McMurray, and Fort Chipewyan and through our Learning Centres in Fort McKay, Gregoire Lake, Conklin and Janvier. The College offers programs that lead to certificates, diplomas, certificates of qualification (trades), and baccalaureate degrees. The College also supports the development of professional knowledge and skills in several sectors, including energy, construction, business, health and safety, arts, sciences, education, human services, and transportation. A wide range of corporate training options are available to client companies.

Fast Facts

  • Opened in 1965 as the Alberta Vocational Centre in Fort McMurray, the school became “Keyano College” in 1975.
  • Keyano is a Cree word that roughly translated means “sharing”. The original slogan for the College was adapted from that to be “Yours, Mine and Ours”.
  • The first graduating class was a welding class. It was appropriate at the school’s official opening that same month, the Minister of Education cut the chain ‘ribbon’ with a blowtorch.
  • Working with partner institutions in Alberta, Keyano offers collaborative degrees in nursing, elementary education, and business administration, that allow students to stay in Fort McMurray while earning their degrees.
  • Keyano regularly tops Pan Global’s Power Engineering Outstanding Achievement Student Awards.

Our research specialization:

Research on amphibian and wetland health in industrialized landscapes is conducted by biologist Dr. Danna M. Schock. Learn more.




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Contribute to our Community

Keyano College plays a pivotal role in enhancing sustainability within the region by collaborating with stakeholders to support social, cultural and economic development initiatives. Keyano’s specialized facilities including its Theatre and Arts Centre, and the Syncrude Sport and Wellness Centre (SSWC) make Keyano College an integral partner in providing educational, cultural, recreational and career opportunities for students and the residents of Wood Buffalo. The Theatre’s season features four series, including four major community theatre productions, touring acts in a variety of genres, touring fringe series productions, and a film series. The Theatre is also used by numerous community groups and schools for events. As well, the Theatre & Arts Centre is home to the Keyano Conservatory which includes a variety of community arts programming opportunities. The SSWC, home to the Keyano Huskies, provides community members and visitors access to a state of the art fitness centre, fitness studio, running track, and three field houses. The Centre also hosts external groups including the local youth soccer association, a health clinic, a child care, and the Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

Foster Student Success

Nicole and David Bouchier

Nicole Bourque-Bouchier and her husband, David, started The Bouchier Group in 2004. The company has grown to employ more than 850 people with more than 200 pieces of equipment. She recognizes the importance of hiring local and Aboriginal people; a large percent of the workforce is made up of Aboriginal people. Nicole has received numerous accolades, including the 2015 Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Celebration of Achievement Award, and recognition as one of Canada’s 2015 Top 100 Most Powerful Women. She currently sits on the Keyano College Board of Governors, and admits that the College still plays a big role in her life: “It was an important part in building my career, starting with completing my high-school upgrading at the Fort Chipewyan Campus, my diploma in Computer Systems and supporting my early entrepreneurial efforts through the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program.” Originally published: Keyano College Foundation Magazine 2015. Learn more.

Melanie James

Melanie James was born and raised in Fort McMurray and graduated from Keyano’s Nursing Program in 2013. She now works at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre where, within a year, she also became Advanced Cardiac Life Support certified. “There are so many opportunities available in this profession right here in Fort McMurray that you couldn’t find anywhere else,” explains James. Nursing isn’t the only training within the medical field that Keyano offers; programs like Emergency Medical Technician and Health Care Aide are so in-demand that many of the graduates have job offers before they are finished their last weeks of training. James’ fiancé, Colin Hargrove, also prepared for his career at Keyano, graduating from the EMT program. “It was one of best decisions I ever made,” says Hargrove. Originally published: Keyano College Foundation Magazine 2015. Learn more.

Kendal Netmaker

Kendal Netmaker is the founder of Neechie Gear. Trent Mason, the volleyball coach at Keyano saw Kendal, still in high school, playing in a men’s tournament. He was quick to recruit him, and in his two years at the College Kendal was rookie of the year and then team captain. He studied Business back then, and on the recent addition of the four year Bachelor degree says: “I’d have stayed if it had been available. I loved Keyano, love coming back to see it.” Neechie Gear is a positive lifestyle company, which is appropriate as ‘Neechie’ is a friendly and warm greeting derived from the Cree language. Kendall’s clothing line has grown exponentially in part due to its caring outlook. Some of the profits are used to offer new opportunities to the next generation of sports kids. Originally published in Connect Weekly. Learn more.

Partner with Business and Community


Keyano College partners with North American Construction, Syncrude Canada, Suncor Energy, and Shell Canada to deliver a four-week Haul Truck Operator course. The course is designed to provide participants with essential skills needed to operate a haul truck safely and efficiently, based on manufacturer’s recommendations and industry operating standards. Students who successfully complete the course will be prepared for entry level Haul Truck Operator positions and are eligible for a work placement with our partnering companies.

Mikisew Cree Occupational & Trades Preparation provides training to meet entrance requirements of Pre-Employment Trades program and skilled labour programs, like Haul Truck Operator and Heavy Equipment Operators. This collaborative partnership includes representation from a First Nation (Mikisew Cree), Metis Local (Local #125), Provincial government, (Alberta Human Services), and Federal government (Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy).

Support Indigenous Students

Keyano College supports Learning Centres and hires community staff for three remote, indigenous communities and a campus in the indigenous northern community of Fort Chipewyan. Indigenous learners in the main campus of Fort McMurray have access to an Aboriginal Student Centre and an Aboriginal Student Advisor. The College maintains an Aboriginal Education department whose role is to liaise between communities and manage local delivery of programming within the communities. The Chair of this department is a standing member of an Aboriginal Partnership committee that includes representatives of the First Nations, Metis Locals, Athabasca Tribal Council, Rupertsland Institute, Alberta Human Services, and community employment coordinators of the federal ASETS agreement. This partnership works to coordinate community based training and employment opportunities for indigenous learners. As well, each year, Keyano hosts the Kiskinamasototak Conference, in collaboration with Athabasca Tribal Council, to discuss issues of importance to the indigenous students.

Programs & Services of Interest

Date modified: 2017-06-22