A graduation ceremony was held at Copper Point Golf Course on July 28 for the Health Care Assistant (HCA) program students.
The program is offered by the College of the Rockies (COTR) and focuses on educating students on qualities and skills needed to prepare them for caring for the elderly in community, residential or assisted living.
Students learn about personal care and taking a holistic approach to their work, as well as providing physical, emotional and social needs for the elderly.
Maxine Jones, who is a second-time HCA instructor, was very pleased with the graduating class.
“It went really well, and it really introduces you to people from all different walks of life,” said Jones. “It’s a step towards nursing and a want to care for other people. A lot of the students are already employed and can now go on to become registered, licensed care aids and apply the knowledge that they’ve learned and put it into practice.”
COTR Campus Manager Doug Clovechok adds that the HCA program is also a great benefit to the growing Columbia Valley community.
“We look at the needs of the community, and we have the Columbia House and Columbia Gardens that has a niche of workers to fill,” said Clovechok.
“So now, if these students choose, they can become employed in the community. We’re a community college, and the community has needs, and it’s great if they can get their jobs right in the community, because these people already live and work here and there is a great deal of demand for this kind of assistance.”
Clovechok added that the HCA class was “really strong” and remarked about the excellent grades scored overall.
“This program rotates campuses as well,” said Clovechok. “So we’d be getting this program back in 2014, but because the demand for this education and work is so high here, we might get it back sooner.”
Students were positive about the HCA program and many, like Monika Budenholzer, are looking forward to future careers such as home assistance, which Budenholzer is most interested in.
“I’ve always been interested in helping people and the healthcare part of that,” said Budenholzer. “I’ve been in the wellness industry since I was 16. I’m looking to combine my experience.”
Budenholzer also adds that the course was an eye-opener to how needed HCA workers are.
“I was surprised at how many people need help, but don’t get it,” she said. “They should get the best care that they need.”