Reinforcements may be on the way for short-staffed personal care homes grappling with pandemic-related issues.

Reinforcements may be on the way for short-staffed personal care homes grappling with pandemic-related issues.

The Manitoba government and Red River College have teamed up to create a COVID-19 health-care support worker micro-credential program to train workers needed to help look after long-term care residents.

The free, fast-track program is designed to fill staffing shortages due to COVID-19, Health Minister Cameron Friesen said in a statement Thursday.

"We must do everything possible to ensure we have staff to support the care needs of residents in our long-term care homes. This requires an immediate increase in the available workforce — and this new training program addresses this goal," he said.

The uncertified program will be a week-long intensive training, complete with five days of theory taught virtually and two days of in-person skills training.

It begins Nov. 30 and is open to students in Winnipeg, Selkirk, Steinbach, Winkler, and Portage la Prairie. The program could soon be expanded to rural and northern Manitoba, officials said.

The course is free (more info here), but comes with the obligation of the student agreeing to work in a personal care home for a minimum of three months. Their duties could include resident observation, companionship, and supply stocking.

The program is part of Red River's response to come up with solutions to support Manitobans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Fred Meier, RRC president and chief executive officer.

"I am proud of what we've been able to accomplish to aid in our provincial response, and I want to commend our staff, faculty, and instructors for continuing to step up and support our communities," he said.

Program students have to have completed Grade 10, and be over 18.

The deadline for applications to the first class is Nov. 23; the first grad could be on the job by Dec. 8.

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

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