Revelstoke residents taking the Health Care Assistant (HCA) program at Okanagan College this September will get a financial boost, thanks to the Revelstoke District Health Foundation.
The Foundation is donating $12,000 to create scholarships to directly support Revelstoke residents who register as students this fall. The HCA program provides training for one of the most in-demand positions in the province.
“The Revelstoke District Health Foundation is pleased to once more offer financial assistance in the form of scholarships to Revelstoke students accepted into the Health Care Assistant program at Okanagan College. The two past intakes have proved very successful and of great benefit to our community. We had no hesitation in participating with Interior Health and Okanagan College to support another great program,” said Margaret Zielonka, Acting Chair of the Revelstoke District Health Foundation Committee.
The intensive program runs for 26 weeks starting in September and will feature four months of classroom instruction and two months of hands-on practicum for students to learn within the health-care environment.
Up to 12 students will each receive $1,000 scholarships, as part of a partnership between the Revelstoke District Health Foundation, Interior Health and Okanagan College. Tuition for the program is $3,261 and is student-loan eligible.
“Interior Health appreciates this generous contribution from the Foundation, which will ultimately have direct benefit to the people we serve. Health care assistants are in high demand in Revelstoke and this contribution ensures that local individuals are able to pursue their certification in Revelstoke,” said North Okanagan Long-term Care Administrator Josee Leclerc.
“It is also a vitally rewarding job because health care assistants are the people who often have the closest relationships with individuals in care or needing support at home.”
According to WorkBC, health care assistants are a priority occupation for the B.C. Ministry of Health. Average employment growth rates in this field are forecasted at 13 per cent to 2022, with no sign of slowing. This demand is anticipated to increase even more after the Government of B.C. recently announced funding to increase staffing levels in long-term care homes for seniors, which aims to fund more than 900 health care assistants by 2021.
“The need for health care assistants is growing and employment opportunities for individuals with this training are plenty. We are grateful that the Foundation chose to support students who will ultimately become the faces of health care in the region,” explains Joan Ragsdale, Regional Dean Shuswap Revelstoke.
An information night is scheduled for Wednesday, May 1 at 7 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Revelstoke Centre, 1401 1st St. West. Students will meet program staff who can discuss the program and outline education financing options, admission requirements and supports for returning students. Information on Work BC funding eligibility will also be available.
Applications can be submitted online. For information, call 250-832-2126, ext. 8259 or visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/hca.