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Partnerships increase education offerings for Atikokan

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Partnerships increase education offerings for Atikokan

A successful partnership is allowing Confederation College to provide more certificate and diploma programs at Atikokan High School. Reps from Rainy River District School Board, Confederation College, Contact North and the Town celebrated the shared facilities partnership at an AHS open house here Wednesday.

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In 2015, the college will offer seven two-year diploma programs, 10 one-year certificate programs, and other part time or full-time online learning options, sharing the Contact North facilities to deliver its programs.

Given the continued success of the nursing program and the number of students enrolled in other Con College programs, “we have enough momentum and now the space available [with the Contact North expansion], to carry that momentum forward,” said Rainy River district campus manager Noreen Bourgeois.

Contact North now uses six classrooms and a main office in a former AHS computer lab. The facilities now have a separate outside entrance and will eventually have a hallway to connect the classrooms that is separate from the high school facilities, said RR District Con College campus director Anne Renaud.

The college has been using the Contact North facilities at the AHS for a few years for a few programs, the most popular being the Practical Nursing Program, which is in the midst of its third class.

In recent years, the college has expanded to offer one year certificates (such as personal support worker, PSW) and two-year diploma programs (such as Native child and family worker and business accounting) here.

Those programs will be offered again next September, along with other one-year certificate programs in business fundamentals, college access, general arts & science, PSW, and pre-health sciences, along with college graduate programs in concurrent disorders and Aboriginal Canadian relations.

Two-year diploma programs in business human resources, computer programmer, early childhood education, and tourism-travel and eco-adventure will be available in September as well.

Offered this January will be the one-year general arts & science and office administration certificates and a two year diploma in educational support.

The enhanced college presence here has been a few years in the making, said director of education Heather Campbell, who credits Mayor Dennis Brown and school board chair Mike Lewis for advocating for more adult learning options here. “We have the awareness [of that need], and the space, why not share? It is really a great partnership.”

Renaud added that the college has a direct partnership with AHS courses through newer offerings of the high skills major program which allows high school students to earn high school and college credits concurrently and the ‘School Within a College’ program for adults over age 18 who can complete their high school credits while also working on college courses.

As part of the college’s presence here, it now has a ‘Bridging the Distance’ cubicle located in the Contact North office. A computer with video technology allows Confederation students to speak with their college professors or its financial aid or counselling department employees.

“It has been really successful in helping distance students, who have concerns about an upcoming test or assignment or financial aid, or other concerns,” said Bourgeois.

These collaborations, the AHS space, and Contact North facilities and technology, also allow local agencies such as the hospital and daycare to help students complete their placements locally, in nursing and early childhood education programs for example, added Renaud.

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