Since arriving in the Huron-Perth area in 2005, Georgian College has seen nearly 40 Practical Nurses, 35 Personal Support Workers and 40 Food Service Workers graduate from its programs here.
Spurred by Huron’s rural health workforce program, HealthKick, and supported by several Huron County organizations, Georgian College in Seaforth is poised once again to send local graduates out into the communities where they live, work and train.
“I would never have become a nurse if not for HealthKick and Georgian delivering the program locally,” states one recent Practical Nursing graduate.
Comments gathered from graduate feedback forms each year convey similar sentiment, making the case that local education has “made the impossible possible” for many residents.
“The life of a mature student is not a simple one, as he or she has to meet challenges head-on while continuing to work, support a family and dedicate time to education”, said Laura Overholt, Manager of HealthKick. “But, by providing Georgian’s educational opportunities locally, we not only allow and encourage their success but are able to develop a new pool of qualified healthcare workers who remain here to fill local positions.”
More than 40 community members have found local employment as part-time instructors for the College, gaining the benefit of personal growth – and bringing increased skills and experience to their employers.
Critical elements needed for the delivery of Georgian’s programs are found in the many partnerships it has developed with local healthcare agencies.
“These agencies provide quality guest speakers, presenters, clinical placements and mentors for students. Without them, our programs could not be offered”, said Barb Carriere, Manager of Part-time Studies at Georgian College’s Owen Sound Campus.
The College recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the area’s Gateway Rural Health Research Institute to help further develop the region both intellectually and economically.
The scope of courses has also widened beyond health care in winter 2014 to include Basic Security Guard Preparation, Telemedicine 101, SmartServe, and Enhanced Skills for Personal Support Workers.