The Human Resources challenges facing the healthcare system have never been clearer to see and in the past two years, policy-makers in government have recognized the need to fund the growth and development of the caregivers we relay on today so we can meet the needs of the future. Across the province, training programs for Personal Support Workers (PSWs) are being offered tuition-free, while generous funding for bridging programs are helping PSWs become Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) and RPNs can upgrade their skills to become Registered Nurses (RNs).
Schlegel Villages is proud to do all it can to facilitate these growth opportunities.
Chris Micheletti is a Wellness Coordinator at The Village of Wentworth Heights and was accepted into the BEGIN program offered by weRPN and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
“It's been a long journey for me to this point,” says Chris, who is bridging to become a Registered Nurse, “but having the support of Schlegel Villages has made it much easier.”
The BEGIN (Bridging Education Grant in Nursing) program supports PSWs bridging to RPN and RPNs bridging to RNs. This generous program provides tuition reimbursement for individuals enrolled in a recognized PSW-RPN or RPN-RN bridging program during application windows from 2022-2025. The most recent window for applications opened August 1, 2022, and the details and application can be found here: Bridging Educational Grant in Nursing BEGIN Program Details
Chris says that overall, the process to enroll was “an easy and painless process.” He had already started his program prior to applying, but quickly after updating his documents, he received a call from the program coordinators urging him to upload his current semester information so he could be compensated.
“They were very understanding and just wanted to assure that I could get as much assistance as possible to complete my program and get reimbursed,” Chris says. “They were amazing enough to get me into the intake period that had already passed so I could get my reimbursement sooner rather than later.”
For a team member who is passionate about the service of residents in Schlegel Villages, the opportunity to upgrade his skills and grow within the organization with funding support has been a blessing for Chris. He shares his experience, to do “whatever I can do to help encourage team members to also better themselves and chase their dreams,” he says.
The following are two key education initiatives currently on offer and any interested team member can reach out to Terry Milford for support:
Nursing Education Initiative Grant Program (NEI) is offered to RNs and NPs registered to practice in Ontario and employed in a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) priority area. They may be eligible for a Nursing Education Initiative (NEI) grant to support their education and professional development up to a maximum of $1,500 in grants per year. More information and the application link can be found on the RNAO website.
The BEGIN (Bridging Education Grant in Nursing) program supports PSWs bridging to RPN and RPNs bridging to RNs. This generous program provides tuition reimbursement for individuals enrolled in a recognized PSW-RPN or RPN-RN bridging program during application windows from 2022-2025. The details and application can be found here: Bridging Educational Grant in Nursing BEGIN Program Details
Some of the program highlights include:
• Eligible RPNs bridging to RN can receive tuition reimbursement of up to $10,000 per year for up to 3 years and a maximum of $30,000.
• Eligible PSWs bridging to RPN can receive tuition reimbursement of up to $6,000 per year for up to 3 years and a maximum of $15,000.
• Some BEGIN participants (based on demonstrated need) may also be eligible to receive additional financial support of up to $5,000 per year. This support is intended to assist with costs such as care for dependents, tutoring, and travel incurred while completing their educational program.
• To be eligible you must be enrolled in an accredited PSW-RPN or RPN-RN bridging program and are eligible regardless of how close to you are to your graduation.
• The current application window is open from August 1st- October 31st.
• All participants will be required to provide one year of service in either HCC or LTC for each year, or portion of a year, they receive funding from the BEGIN program.