PSW students can receive training and work at Almonte Country Haven through partnership program

There are more than 10 spots available for February intake

Almonte Country Haven PSWs Debbie Burke (left) and Rebecca Smith (right) pose in their caps and gowns at a ceremony their colleagues at the Lanark County long-term care home organized for them.

People interested in a career as a personal support worker (PSW) can have the costs of their studies covered and receive employment at Almonte Country Haven through a partnership the Lanark County long-term care home has entered.

Almonte Country Haven began a workplace partnership this year with the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) and the Canadian Career Academy (CCA) to help provide people interested in careers as PSWs with the required training.

CDSBEO offers a PSW training program at a comparatively low cost and has also partnered with CCA to cover a portion of students’ tuition. Students are also permitted to earn money while completing their work placement hours.

Almonte Country Haven was approached by CDSBEO and CCA and asked if the home was interested in becoming a workplace partner.

Carolyn Della Foresta, Almonte Country Haven’s administrator, says the home didn’t hesitate to get involved. OMNI Health Care, which owns Almonte Country Haven, also offered to help.

“We, of course, jumped at this amazing opportunity, and OMNI kindly offered to cover, through the OMNI bursary program, the portion of the program that CCA did not cover,” she tells The OMNIway.

“This meant that any prospective student that was interested in the program would have the cost covered, would complete their placement with us, while earning money, and had guaranteed employment with us here at Almonte Country Haven during and post-graduation.”

The first two Almonte Country Haven PSWs to receive training through this partnership – Debbie Burke and Rebecca Smith – graduated in October.

Currently, there are four Almonte Country Haven team members enrolled in the PSW program who will graduate in January.

There are currently more than 10 spaces available for the PSW training program that will start in February, and Almonte Country Haven is looking for more to join.

Anyone interested in PSW training through this partnership can contact Carolyn at 613-256-3095, ext. 222.

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Almonte Country Haven hosts surprise ceremony for two PSW graduates

Debbie Burke and Rebecca Smith are the first team members to graduate from a PSW program ACH is involved with. When their graduation ceremony was cancelled due to the pandemic, the home stepped up and organized a special event to honour their achievement

Almonte Country Haven PSWs Debbie Burke (left) and Rebecca Smith (right) pose in their caps and gowns at a ceremony their colleagues at the Lanark County long-term care home organized for them.

When Almonte Country Haven administrator Carolyn Della Foresta learned that two graduates of a personal support worker (PSW) program the home is involved with were unable to have a graduation ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she and the rest of the home’s staff made sure their accomplishments were honoured.

In October, Debbie Burke and Rebecca Smith became the first team members at the Lanark County long-term care home to complete training through a PSW program offered by the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) and supported by the Canadian Career Academy (CCA).

Almonte Country Haven is a long-term care home in the region partnering with this CDSBEO-CCA collaboration.

Given that Debbie and Rebecca graduating from the program was an important milestone, Carolyn wanted to ensure their achievement was celebrated at Almonte Country Haven, so she planned a surprise ceremony for the two PSWs.

“I went on Amazon and found graduation gowns and caps, as well as some fun and affordable decorations, (and) we quietly planned a surprise, safe graduation ceremony – everyone wore masks and we all social-distanced,” Carolyn tells The OMNIway.

Debbie and Rebecca joined the Almonte Country Haven team in early 2020. Carolyn characterizes Debbie and Rebecca as “truly amazing PSWs – we are blessed to have them as part of our team.”

Carolyn adds that Debbie and Rebecca worked full time during the COVID-19 outbreak that impacted Almonte Country Haven in the spring, while taking classes and managing their family lives.

“I am amazed by what they have accomplished,” she says.

On the day of their graduation ceremony, Debbie and Rebecca were called to a “staff meeting” and were “completely surprised” when they walked into the meeting last (Carolyn had made sure of this) to be met with lots of fanfare from their co-workers.

There was music playing and staff members handed Debbie and Rebecca their caps and gowns to wear.

“All the staff cheered them on and congratulated them,” Carolyn says. “We are so proud of them, as they both are amazingly kind and compassionate PSWs and they embody OMNI’s mission, vision and values.”

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If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

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