MHC's two new pro­grams in Brooks prov­ing pop­u­lar

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Brooks - BY RYAN DAHLMAN — [email protected]­

Cindy Slen­ders was ap­pointed the Medicine Hat Col­lege's di­rec­tor of the Brooks Cam­pus and re­gional stew­ard­ship in July 2016.

Since then, Slen­ders has watched the County of Newell suf­fer through some bad eco­nomic times which has in ef­fect al­tered the di­rec­tion of pro­gram­ming to the cam­pus. Ac­cord­ing to the MHC web­site. "the cam­pus has al­most 300 full and part­time stu­dents each se­mes­ter, en­rolled in cour­ses."

The Brooks Cam­pus di­rec­tor says the col­lege is still pop­u­lar within the city of 14,000.

While the nurs­ing pro­gram has its an­nual full slate of stu­dents and the adult ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion is also quite pop­u­lar, Slen­ders and the dili­gent man­age­ment team in Brooks and Medicine Hat proac­tively sought out and forged new op­por­tu­ni­ties: so­cial work di­ploma and a health care aide cer­tifi­cate.

"The com­mu­nity is squarely be­hind it," ex­plains Slen­ders as the com­pletely full en­rol­ment in the new course can at­test. "Plus, from my di­a­logue with peo­ple in­for­mally and for­mally, peo­ple hold the col­lege in high re­gard."

She adds that stu­dents ad­mire MHC with hav­ing an em­pha­sis on hav­ing hands-on work­place ex­pe­ri­ence as "part of the learn­ing jour­ney."

"The­o­ret­i­cal back­ground is fine, but when you are fo­cused on the trades, so­cial work, nurs­ing the Medicine Hat Col­lege and the com­mu­nity want a hands-on ap­proach," says Slen­ders who says they have teamed up with some lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions.

"Work­ing on the front line helps cor­rect any 'mis­in­for­ma­tion (about the job)’ right there for the stu­dent," adds Slen­ders. "This makes you a re­ally in­valu­able em­ployee."

The two-year di­ploma so­cial work pro­gram is filled right up. This so­cial work di­ploma can be credit to­wards a Bach­e­lor of Pro­fes­sional Arts (Hu­man Ser­vices) from Athabasca Univer­sity or the Univer­sity of Cal­gary's Bach­e­lor of So­cial Work de­gree. The MHC pro­gram is in ac­cor­dance with the Al­berta Col­lege of So­cial Work.

Due to a lack of petroleum-based jobs — al­though it's mak­ing a slight come­back now — the in­ter­est for tra­di­tion­ally pop­u­lar pro­grams like some of the trades in­clud­ing weld­ing just wasn't there. Pop­u­lar­ity nor were the in­tern­ship pos­si­bil­i­ties as petroleum­based com­pa­nies ei­ther shut down or wouldn't take any internship­s.

Af­ter some hard work with lo­cal col­lege ad­min­is­tra­tion, a lot of open di­a­logue with lo­cal of­fi­cials, rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the pub­lic as well as work­ing through the or­ga­ni­za­tional hur­dles and pro­to­col with the provin­cial gov­ern­ment, the Brooks cam­pus set up the two new cour­ses. Slen­der says it takes a long time to set such pro­grams up any­where from 24 to 36 month to de­velop a pro­gram.

Slen­ders says they have a full slate of stu­dents be­cause it is set up in such a way as any­one can take it, even em­ployed adults.

"It's tai­lor-made for those (full-time) peo­ple as the classes go Fri­day and Sat­ur­day," ex­plains Slen­ders. "Through that for­mat, it ap­peals to that genre of stu­dents...ob­tain work­place cre­den­tials with­out stop work­ing.

More ma­ture stu­dents have more idea of an idea of what they wan to do be­cause they are get­ting into new ca­reers and want to do some­thing mean­ing­ful. Ac­cord­ing to Stats Canada in Al­berta, health care aides are in de­mand as the baby boomers start to head for re­tire­ment homes.

Be­sides those two, there are more pos­si­bil­i­ties of new cour­ses in­clud­ing re­new­able re­source sec­tor. Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies re­mains pop­u­lar as well. Slen­ders says the com­mu­nity as a whole has sup­ported them well. Cou­pled with some ren­o­va­tions, the Brooks cam­pus is do­ing well.

"We ap­pre­ci­ate the work with the pub­lic and the re­it­er­a­tion to make us aware of what they want so we can ad­dress those needs," notes Slen­ders.

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