Strategic Partnership Recognized by Economic Developers Alberta

International Student Recruitment Program Wins Two Awards of Excellence

May 12, 2023

Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism (FMWBEDT) in partnership with Keyano College, and other community organizations came together to develop a unified and coordinated approach to attract and retain international students, resulting in a 245% increase in international student enrollment since 2021. The outcome and approach to this partnership earned two Awards of Excellence from Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) in their respected categories.

“Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo is strengthening its economic competitiveness and growing the local economy through partnerships,” says Kevin Weidlich, President and CEO of FMWBEDT. “We are working together to create a unified ecosystem to support newcomers, and particularly international students. These awards highlight the regions collaboration efforts in advancing the shared goal of international student recruitment and retention.”

FMWBEDT and Keyano College received the award for ‘Regional Collaboration and Partnerships,’ recognizing an economic development project where local strategic partnership was a key contributing factor to success, as well as the ‘Alex Metcalfe Award’ celebrating the best of the best among the EDA Awards of Excellence winners and awarded to three regional projects based on community size. These awards celebrate one of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo’s greatest strengths and that is leaning into community collaboration to get results.

“Seeing this program take-off has been very exciting for the college,” says Sandra Efu, Vice President of Academic and Student Experience at Keyano College. “We are thrilled to see strong interest from international students wanting to study, live, and contribute to our region. At the heart of the program is collaboration between all local organizations involved, and that is the reason we are seeing success.”

“The EDA Annual Awards of Excellence Program recognizes outstanding contributions made by EDA members in community economic development projects province-wide,” says Leann Hackman-Carty, CEO of EDA. “We would like to congratulate Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism as well as Keyano College for receiving this honour. We would like to congratulate the Business Council of Alberta and Town of Didsbury who joined Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism in receiving the Alex Metcalfe Award in their respective categories.”

For more information on Keyano College’s International Student Recruitment Program, please visit

About Economic Developers Alberta |

Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) is the only network for economic developers in the province. For almost 50 years, EDA has been committed to advancing the economic development profession by providing resources, training, and networking opportunities. Their goal is to support economic developers in their efforts to create thriving communities.

About Keyano College |

Keyano College is a comprehensive community institution in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The College offers programs that lead to certificates, diplomas, certificates of qualification (trades), and baccalaureate degrees. Keyano College can accept and enroll international students with a study permit. Read through the International Student Guide for information about applying, fees, requirements, and health insurance, or visit our International Student page.

Media Contact

Chantal Beaver

Associate Vice President, Strategy & Business Development
Keyano College
(587) 646-3346

Media Contact

Andrea Haley

Director, Brand, Marketing & Communications
Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism
(780) 907-2017