SUNDRE — As Alberta’s population ages, there will be a growing demand for health care aides throughout the province, with this community being no exception.
“The health industry in Sundre is a growing industry, and it represents good, well-paying jobs for our community,” said Jonathan Allan, the municipality’s economic development officer.
In recognition of this trend, Allan said a full credit health care aide certificate program is being offered through a partnership among the Town of Sundre, the Greenwood Neighbourhood Place Society (GNP), Red Deer College (RDC) and Campus Alberta Central (CAC).
To raise awareness and elicit interest, he said a 30-minute Zoom videoconference Q&A informational session is scheduled for this Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 1 p.m.
“People can get all the info they need from home to make it as easy as possible,” he said, recognizing the mid-afternoon timeline might not suit everyone’s schedule.
“Hopefully people can adjust their lunch breaks or take the time to do it. And if they don’t have the ability to do it, they can always contact RDC directly.”
Provided there are enough registrations — the deadline to apply is Nov. 25 — the program will be delivered by the college through the partnership with the municipality, GNP and CAC starting early in the new year, he said.
“The health care aide certificate program coming to Sundre in winter 2021 follows the government of Alberta approved health care aide 2019 curriculum and successful graduates will be certified as health care aides in Alberta.”
A press release issued on Oct. 2 says the program will run from Jan. 6 to June 15, with tuition that is eligible for student assistance costing $7,200.
“The program features a combination of in-person lab work and online learning. Lab work will be completed at the United Church on Centre Street North in Sundre, due to the large space made available by the church to the college for the purpose of housing hospital-style beds and medical equipment," reads a portion of the statement.
Anyone seeking specific information about the program or the upcoming information session is encouraged to contact the college’s School of Continuing Education at 403-356-4900 or alternatively by email at email@example.com.
The health care aid program will also be offered concurrently in Rocky Mountain House, said Allan.
“It’s not just a course — it’s a full credit program,” he said, adding credits can be applied towards further upgrading credentials.
The two-semester program was initially set to launch this month and wrap up next June, but the pandemic ended up derailing and pushing back those plans, he said.
Students who successfully complete the program will be certified as health care aides in Alberta, he added.
This latest post-secondary opportunity “is the next step in the evolution of our relationship,” he said, adding that earlier this year, a continuing education skills development course — not to be confused with a full-credit course — was the first to be offered.
“It was a continuing ed course on management skills for supervisors,” he said.
“By offering full credit courses here in Sundre, it just goes to show that Sundre is a legitimate post-secondary community,” he added.
“It’s wonderful. The fact is, with this particular program, we’re going to be able to meet the needs of the health industry in the area. For instance, of course Mountain View Seniors’ Housing has a constant need for health-care aides, and now with the very excellent news of the old Foothills Lodge facility in downtown Sundre being purchased by a long-term care provider based out of Calgary, shortly converting into a long-term care facility, health-care aides will be in absolute need.”
He hailed the program as a perfect opportunity for people who are pursuing a career path in that direction, he said.
“The best part is, of course, that they get to stay in Sundre and learn without having to commute to another community,” he said.
“So, we’re very happy about supporting the quality of our workforce with this partnership.”