FREE Health Care Assistant Program at Discovery Community College is open to residents in Burns Lake

Alberta Government aims to incentivize students to work in continuing care

The Alberta Government is investing $12.8 million to create new bursaries to assist students with education costs and encourage them to work in continuing care.

The HCA Education Funding program includes three streams of funding: the Financial Incentive program, the HCA Tuition Bursary program and the Workplace Tutor program.

According to a release, health care aides are the single largest workforce in continuing care and provide basic health services and assistance with daily living to people with medical conditions or major functional limitations.

Students who were enrolled in a licensed HCA program between Jan. 1 and June 30 of this year are eligible for up to $4,000 through the Financial Incentive program – if they agree to work a minimum of 1,000 hours with an identified continuing care operator within one year of starting employment. The amount of funding is dependent on location.

“Health-care aides in continuing care settings are in high demand throughout Alberta, especially in rural areas,” Minister of Health Jason Copping.

“These bursaries will remove barriers to students, paying for schooling and other expenses while they are completing their certification program, and ultimately improve the supply of staff and the level of care Albertans receive across the province.”

Eligible HCA students may receive up to $9,000 through the HCA Tuition Bursary program. Students must be enrolled in a licensed HCA program beginning after July 1 of this year. Preference will be given to students who are attending school full time or are already working for a continuing care operator.

The Workplace Tutor program provides funding for identified continuing care operators to educate HCAs at their workplace. Students may work as HCAs as they complete the program. Employers must have a regulated nurse to teach students in the lab and supervise formal clinical courses. Operators are eligible to receive up to $9,400 per tutor.

“We are very pleased to see the HCA bursary program implemented, as health-care aides are important and valuable members of our teams,” said Sean Chilton, vice-president, People, Health Professions and Information Technology, Alberta Health Services.

“The program will most certainly help attract those with a passion for health care to a role that is crucial to the delivery of quality care for patients in many health-care settings. Working with our educational partners, our goal is to develop talent in areas that keeps health care close to home for all Albertans.”

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