Demetrios Nicolaides, minister of advance education, announced $436,920 in funding towards health care learning programs at Northwestern Polytechnic in Grande Prairie, Alta. on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. The province dedicated $416,771 to NWP that will go towards health care learning. (Photo by Jesse Boily)

Original Published on Jun 10, 2022 at 15:40

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Northwestern Polytechnic (NWP) will be receiving $416,771 to create new seats in health care programs.

The announcement came last Wednesday (May 25) in a NWP nursing classroom from Demetrios Nicolaides, minister of advance education.

“We are investing in programs that will provide high-quality education, training and skills that are needed to succeed in tomorrow’s economy,” said Nicolaides.

The new funds will create 95 seats in the Bachelor of Nursing university transfer program at NWP and 48 seats in the practical nurse diploma, and 48 seats in the health care aide certificate program.

“We will now be able to accommodate 120 new students each year into the four-year nursing degree along with a total of 96 new aspiring health care aides and practical nurse diploma students annually,” said Vanessa Sheane, NWP vice-president of academics.

“I know firsthand that these graduates will play a key role in the well-being of Albertans; they will deliver much-needed services in community long term and acute care settings,” she said.

NWP President Justin Kohlman says the timing is perfect as the first cohort of students will begin collaborative training, research, and utilize the teaching space at the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital.

Nicolaides says the province asked post-secondary institutions to submit proposals to expand their high-demand programs, being programs with long waitlists.

“We received more than 120 proposals from 23 institutions and, of course, evaluated and scored those proposals to ensure alignment with workforce needs and student demand,” he said.

“This investment will support the healthcare system as a whole and serves as the perfect opportunity for growth in our community, particularly with our new hospital,” said Tracy Allard, Grande Prairie MLA.

She said that the funding would come into effect right away, with many programs accepting students for the fall 2022 intake.

“It’s a critical time in our province, and I’m pleased to see support for our northern students and our health care system,” said Allard.

An additional $436,920 was announced at Wednesday’s announcement to go to Northern Lakes College for its health care programs.

It is expected to create 150 new seats in the health care aid certificate program and the employed student tutor education program (Estep).

The province says it is investing $171 million over three years to create nearly 10,000 additional post-secondary spaces in high-demand programs.

This item reprinted with permission from Town & Country News, Beaverlodge, Alberta