By Jamie Rieger
Students in Bow Island, Foremost, and Oyen can now earn their Health Care Aide certificate and some high school credits as Prairie Rose School Division and Medicine Hat College have partnered to bring the program to rural communities in southeast Alberta.
“On campus, this is a 20-week program, but in the high schools, they will pace it differently,” said Susan Sexsmith, coordinator for the HCA program at the college. “This is good for MHC too and getting more involved with rural communities is part of our mission statement.”
The program will be offered through distance learning, as well as face-to-face instruction and will allow the students to earn 24 high school credits.
“We have a number of students who are already working in health care related facilities, such as nursing homes, so this additional training was seen as an avenue for them to transition from school to permanent employment,” said Reagan Weeks, assistant superintendent with PRSD in a written statement.
Students will be eligible to register for the course after completing Grade 9, with classes being supervised by a PRSD teacher and a MHC instructor once a week. Clinical and practicum placements will take place throughout the district.
“We are excited to offer our program to high school students in the surrounding rural communities,” said Sexsmith. “It is important to us that we are ensuring that our methods of instruction are flexible, and that we continue to demonstrate our dedication to serving our region and making education accessible to our future workforce.”
Sandy Vanderburgh, dean for the Division of Science and Health at MHC said this partnership is providing a wonderful opportunity for rural students.
“Prairie Rose is very committed to creating unique pathways for students to pursue post-secondary education. We are excited to be part of that way of thinking and see this as just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to opportunities for our instruction to offer programming in a less traditional way,” she said.