Job-skills funding in the latest provincial budget will find its way to the Owen Sound YMCA to help train much needed long-term care home workers.
“This is exceptionally good news,” said Linda Alexander, programs director at the Y, who remarked on how quickly the funding came through. The application had to be in by March 9.
The aim is to train people who were hired temporarily in long-term care homes in a pinch during the pandemic to fill in for the shortage of nursing staff and personal support workers. Unemployed people are also welcome, Alexander said.
When these “micro-credentials” are earned, they’ll count toward a personal support worker certification, she said.
The training will be free of charge and come with a two-week minimum paid work placement and hope of getting permanent work.
Grey-Bruce long-term care managers have been meeting together through the pandemic to strategize on how to solve common issues, including a shortage of skilled workers, she said.
They helped shape what training will be offered, such as by including First Aid, CPR and food-safety training. Some will serve on an advisory committee to provide ongoing input on program delivery.
A total of $709,893 in SkillsAdvance program training dollars for this training was announced in a news release by Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker Friday.
Alexander said beside long-term care homes, “other facilities and organizations which provide care for seniors who also have staffing needs and could provide opportunities for some of the program participants,” including in-home care needs.
In terms of demand for workers, the Four County Labour Market Planning Board reported in January the job classification with the highest demand included home support workers, personal care aides, personal home support and more.
There were 154 job postings for such positions in January. In February there were 49 Indeed employment website postings for personal support workers, 14 similar postings on the Y’s job board, and a number of seniors’ residences across Grey-Bruce post want ads for staff to support seniors in their buildings, Alexander said.
Grey County’s director of economic development, Savanna Myers, pulled the group together with the Y, the literacy-training and social service organizations in Grey-Bruce, along with Georgian College.
“This project, while it won’t solve all the issues that are out there in long-term care, in terms of staffing shortages,” Alexander said, “it will certainly be a great first step . . . .”
Advertising about the new training should start in a couple of weeks and it’s hoped the first classes will begin by the end of April.
Training will begin with a two-week pre-employment assessment to ensure applicants are a good fit with the industry they’re entering. There will be CPR and First Aid, digital and communication-skills training components.
Next comes the Georgian College Essential Skills Support Worker training lasting three-to-six weeks, then they recruits will be placed in a long-term care facility. The aim is to train 100 workers between April 1 and next March.
That training will be done online mostly, with space available at Grey County’s Sydenham Campus for access to computers and the Internet, and for when in-person training is required, Alexander said.
For more information contact YMCA Owen Sound Grey Bruce Employment Services at 519-371-9222 and press 6.