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Every day she walks into the classroom at Columbia Park Elementary, Åsa Kenyon is looking for ways to support students with diverse learning needs.
“My job is to find the strength in each individual I work with. I work as a key part of a team to strive towards success for all students in the classroom,” says Kenyon.
Kenyon is a graduate of the Education Assistant Certificate program at Okanagan College. “I took the program because I enjoy working with children and youth. The training offered me an opportunity for work I find both meaningful and rewarding,” says Kenyon.
Education assistants have an important role in the successful education and inclusion of students with diverse learning needs. They work in elementary and secondary school systems, as well as other community organizations.
It is an in-demand skill with job opportunities across the province. Recent labour market data predicts there will be need for nearly 6,000 new education assistants and early childhood educators in B.C. over the next eight years.
Graduates of the education assistant program at Okanagan College have high levels of employment in their field, with 97-per-cent working in the labour force according to the statistics from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.
“We know that providing education for children and youth with diverse learning needs is integral to the overall wellbeing of the community,” says Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training at Okanagan College. “This program will offer training opportunities for education assistants at the Revelstoke campus. It is a key step in building this critical skill within the community.”
The program is offered in a part-time format and is eligible for student grants. “The part-time nature of the training worked for my schedule as a working parent, as did the practicum component,” says Kenyon.
The Education Assistant certificate training program will be offered at the Revelstoke Centre of Okanagan College and begins in January.
Kelowna City Councillor Maxine DeHart is adding her name to new campaign to improve health care in the Okanagan.
DeHart is the Campaign Ambassador for the Okanagan College Foundation’s Our Students, Your Health Campaign, which aims to raise $5 million to build a modern Health Sciences Centre that will educate future health care professionals for the Okanagan and beyond.
DeHart will be featured in a 30-second commercial and radio ads talking about the campaign.
“Our health is the most important thing, it’s all we have. I joined this campaign to raise awareness of the amazing impact Okanagan College grads have on our health-care system,” says DeHart.
“I can't express enough that these people coming out of that Centre will be helping you for the rest of your life nor matter who you are and what age you are. We should all open our hearts and give what we can.”
The College has graduated more than 11,000 health-care professionals since its current building opened in 1963. While the College stands by the quality of its education, it needs a new building to reflect advances in health care, ensuring students are educated on the latest technology and in spaces that match typical health-care settings.
“Maxine is a champion for community, and we’re delighted she’s helping us raise awareness of this important campaign,” says Helen Jackman, Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director.
“Our graduates have an immense impact on the local health-care system. We entrust them with the quality of life, the recovery, the wellness of our community, and that doesn’t just refer to our neighbours or our co-workers or people we don’t know. They care for our loved ones, our families, the people nearest and dearest to us. So we hope people will hear the messages that Max and others are sharing, and will be inspired to give and help us make this project a reality.”
The B.C. government is funding $15.4 million of the $18.9 million Centre. The Okanagan College Foundation is fundraising $3.5 million to complete the building and $1.5 million for scholarships and bursaries for students entering high-demand health care careers.
To learn more or to donate, visit ourstudentsyourhealth.ca.