LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Scrapping program a step backward
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Linda Ross and the rest of the trustees who voted to eliminate the health-care aide program seem to be out of touch with the needs of the community.
As you stated in your statement from “It’s not our responsibility to educate health-care professionals. That’s not what we do. That’s not what we get funded for,” Linda (and trustees), are you aware that at Crocus Plains students can get their Level 1 apprenticeship in automotive service tech and culinary arts, or can get their Red Seal certification in hairstyling — all college-level programs? That’s right, Crocus Plains is educating hairstyling professionals and is seen by this group of school trustees to be more important than providing students the ability leave high school with an entry-level health-care job.
There has never been such a huge need for health-care workers in the Westman area as there is today, so why are we destroying this pathway? Cutting this program does not serve the public and is a disappointment. Aside from what seems to be personal dislike for the program, what surveys or consultations were done in the last year to involve parents and the community in this decision? Where is the data to back up this decision that this is the program that needed to be cut instead of the DJing course (sound engineer) or hairstyling? On Nov. 22, trustee Jim Murray said, according to the minutes, “that the board is a governance board, and no longer a management board.” The decision to cancel this program without consultation is not a governance decision, it is a managerial decision. Maybe it is time for the trustees to review their purpose if they will continue to have a managerial style.
What attempts to save this program were made, aside from ACC saving it for the year? Were there any consultations to government or to Prairie Mountain Health to provide funding?
Sadly, the move to cancel this program will have an impact on our community and will stop young students from being able to get into the health-care field. Let’s be perfectly clear: we are not talking about a job that is super high-paying. Health-care aides are typically starting at $18-$19 an hour — $3 to $4 an hour more than what minimum wage will be by September. This program is also a five-month program outside of the high school program and costs around $7,000. But this program gives a leg up to those students who may not be able to access this program elsewhere or give them a entry point into the health-care system to see if they want to continue on to take nursing or other health-care-related programs at college or university.
I want to end this rant/letter to the editor to publicly thank trustees Blaine Foley and Calistus Ekenna for voting against this cut. You have listened and represent your community well. I would also like to thank trustee Breeanna Sieklicki for following through on her campaign promises. If anyone in the public watches or reads the minutes, they will notice the hard work you are putting in to honour your promises.