Government of Ontario press release – The Ontario government has invested $500,000 to help 92 Niagara-area residents train for careers as personal support workers (PSWs). This training is helping people from all walks of life gain the skills they need to pursue careers providing care and comfort for those living in long-term care homes or at home with an illness or injury.
The announcement was made on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, at Lifetime Learning, the District School Board of Niagara adult education centre running the training program. It came just days after the province announced it is supporting PSWs and direct support workers by investing $461 million to temporarily enhance wages.
“As we enter the second wave of the pandemic it is imperative that we train more personal support workers,” said Minister McNaughton. “These health care professionals are on the frontlines in our fight against COVID-19, caring for our parents, our grandparents and our most vulnerable patients. This investment will help job seekers and personal support workers receive the skills and training at a time when they are needed most.”
The training began on September 8 and offers a blended online and in-person format. Graduation is expected within 40 weeks.
“We’re thrilled with this opportunity to support the development of more health-care providers in Niagara,” said Leanne Smith, superintendent of curriculum and student achievement at the DSBN. “This funding will help us educate, prepare, and provide technical training to a new group of dedicated personal support workers who will positively impact the Niagara Region.”
Unemployment in St. Catharines-Niagara has approximately doubled since pre-pandemic levels, according to Statistics Canada, and stood at 23,300 as of August. Online job postings in the region show that educational assistants, metal processing inspectors and home support workers are among the most in-demand workers. This training helps address the need for more personal support workers, particularly given the region’s aging population.
“Niagara needs more personal support workers, and initiatives like the one at Lifetime Learning provide job seekers with solid foundations for career success,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education. “Through this investment, our government is helping hard-working people in Niagara train for this viable and important career path.”