By Tammy Schneider
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
With the hope of alleviating one of the problems plaguing the long term care system during the pandemic, the provincial government announced on Feb. 24 that it is investing over $115 million to train up to 8,200 new personal support workers for high-demand jobs in Ontario’s health and long-term care sectors.
The initiative plans to have up to 8,200 new supporter workers ready for the long term care workforce by the fall of 2021.
The province has collaborated with Colleges Ontario, and all 24 publicly assisted colleges will offer this fully-funded plan, set to begin next month.
“We are taking monumental steps to protect our most vulnerable and provide the highest quality of care when and where residents need it,” said Premier Ford. “We will achieve this by recruiting and training some of our best and brightest to be PSWs. This will improve the quality of life for our seniors and begin to correct the decades of neglect in this sector.”
The Accelerated PSW Training Program will offer free tuition for up to 6,000 new students enrolled in the personal support worker course. The course, which begins Apr. 5, will allow students to graduate with full credentials in six months, compared to the eight months it would usually take to complete. It will include three months of coursework, and experiential, or hands-on learning, in a clinical setting. Students will complete the final three months in paid onsite training in a long-term care home or in a home and community care environment.
The province is also offering tuition assistance to students who are close to finishing an existing program at one of Ontario’s publicly-assisted colleges. Nearly 2,200 students will be eligible to receive a $2,000 tuition grant to help them complete their studies, as well as a stipend to complete the clinical placement part of their training.
According to Georgian College, the new accelerated training program for personal support workers will produce a huge increase in PSW training at Ontario’s colleges.
“This is a major step to help fill the demand for personal support workers in our communities,” said Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, president and CEO, Georgian College. “PSWs are the backbone of care in Ontario – and there simply aren’t enough of them. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in a new career in this critical field.”
“Our graduates provide essential care to many of our most vulnerable citizens,” Dr. West-Moynes said. “We were pleased to collaborate with the province and our community health-care partners to create this new opportunity for students who will graduate job ready with high-quality, essential skills.”
Those interested in applying to the provincially funded PSW program with intakes starting in April or May at Georgian, should check https://www.ontariocolleges.ca on or after March 8 for details.