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New partnership addresses PSW shortage in Algoma

Conestoga College and Algoma Manor have joined forces
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A new partnership between Conestoga College and Algoma Manor, a long-term care home in Thessalon, Ont., will help address the need for health care professionals in the local community.  

Beginning in January 2021, students in the Algoma District will have the opportunity to develop the skills required to begin careers as personal support workers (PSWs) through the completion of a 20-week PSW Fast-Onsite program delivered online by Conestoga instructors, with clinical placements provided by local health-care organizations.  

Personal support workers provide supportive, person-centered care to individuals and families in a variety of care environments including long-term, community care and hospital settings. Conestoga's PSW program prepares students to become preferred graduates for the profession, as stated in a news release from Conestoga College.  

Costs for participants will be covered through funding provided by the Canada-Ontario Job  Grant and administered through Algoma Manor.  

“This is truly a unique opportunity to be able to receive a post-secondary education in a rural  community and have it covered financially,” said Jennifer Fogal, director of resident and nursing services at Algoma Manor in a news release. “It is a wonderful example of how grant dollars can be used to the maximum in an integrated approach.”  

Algoma and communities across Ontario have experienced an ongoing shortage of qualified health care workers, a situation which has become more acute since the beginning of the pandemic.

This initiative will prepare 50 new PSW graduates to provide quality care to various long-term care homes, community support providers and hospitals in Algoma. They will complete the program in June 2021.  

“With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, health-care teams across the country are helping to provide each other with much-needed resources in order to maintain quality health-care services,” said Pamela Ficociello, executive director of Algoma Manor. “This program is an amazing example of this, and goes to showcase how in tough times the Algoma district’s health-care teams are dedicated to supporting one another in order to maintain ongoing quality care and health services to their communities.” 

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of Algoma Manor to bring health-care education and training to the local community,” said Dr. Veronique Boscart, executive dean of Conestoga’s School of Health and Life Sciences. “We look forward to working in partnership to address the region’s care needs through this innovative education initiative.”

For more information on the PSW program at Conestoga College, contact 

For more information on how to apply with Algoma, contact Jenny Daoust at