Mohawk College sees ‘tremendous interest’ in new accelerated PSW program

·2 min read

Days after a new accelerated personal support worker program at Mohawk College opened for registration, applications are already coming in.

“We’ve seen a tremendous interest,” said Wendy Lawson, dean of health and community services.

Mohawk is one of 24 colleges across the province offering fully-funded opportunities for aspiring PSWs through a provincial initiative to address demand for staff in long-term-care, hospital and community settings.

“There’s a tremendous need across our community, across the region and across the province,” she said. “I think the opportunity for employment is quite limitless.”

Registration for the program’s 360 spots opened late last week for cohorts starting April 5, May 10 and June 14.

Lawson said the ongoing demand for PSWs has been exacerbated by COVID-19, creating an opportunity for a “sector-wide co-ordinated approach to addressing the need.”

The first cohort will be ready to join the workforce as early as Sept. 6.

“The fact that this program provides an incentive, the fact that it breaks down a lot of barriers that prospective learners and individuals who are interested in a caring profession may face provides an opportunity for us to really accelerate meeting some of the need within our community,” she said.

Lawson said the design and delivery of the accelerated PSW program is different than the existing two-semester program, but their learning outcomes are “aligned.”

The 21-week program is mostly virtual — asynchronously, in some cases, to provide flexibility for learners with “competing demands related to employment or family” — with hands-on labs in advance of a 300-hour paid work placement completed over the last 10 weeks of the program.

“Our college graduates provide excellent quality of care to our most vulnerable citizens,” Linda Franklin, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario, said in a March 8 media release. “This will further strengthen that quality of care during the fight against COVID-19 and beyond.”

The province is also offering a $2,000 tuition grant to students who started a PSW program at a publicly-assisted Ontario college in January.

Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator