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July 20, 2020 1:21 PM

Ontario invests in new program to support LTC workforce needs

The Ontario government is investing almost $340,000 for a new Conestoga program that will help unemployed workers in Kitchener-Waterloo transition to essential roles in health and long-term care (LTC) environments.

The 5-week Resident Home Assistant program will provide targeted training in infection prevention and control, sanitation and housekeeping, laundry, food safety and service as well as COVID procedures related to LTC homes. All content will be available for remote and online delivery. Graduates will be prepared for entry-level positions supporting operations in long-term care facilities, ready to join a professional field that is expected to offer many career opportunities now and in the future.

“We greatly appreciate the province’s investment in this important initiative,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “The Resident Home Assistant program will address the urgent need for trained staff in LTC homes while providing opportunities for laid off workers to gain skills that will allow them to return to the workforce and make positive contributions to the health and well-being of our community.”

“This is a significant and timely investment that will support unemployed workers and the long-term care sector in Waterloo Region,” said Mike Harris, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga, Amy Fee, MPP for Kitchener South-Hespeler and Belinda Karahalios, MPP for Cambridge, in a joint statement. “As we move forward with the reality of COVID-19, we are glad that Ontario is partnering with Conestoga College to ensure that these new workers will be well-trained to protect themselves and the most vulnerable in our community.”

“Effective training and retraining programs are essential as we reopen our economy,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “We know that people, businesses and communities have been hit hard by the pandemic. By supporting projects like the one at Conestoga College, we can help people recover and restart the economic engine of our province.”

Conestoga is working with industry experts and local employers to ensure that the program will provide graduates with the skills they will need for success. In addition to technical training focused specifically on LTC environments, the program will also explore such areas as workplace communication strategies and workplace safety.

The program will be delivered at no cost to qualified participants. Training for the first group of 30 participants will begin in September 2020. For more information, contact twells@conestogac.on.ca

The funding for Conestoga’s new project comes through SkillsAdvance Ontario, a series of pilot projects individually designed to support local workforce development in Ontario’s key growth sectors.

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