Hospital officials in Chatham-Kent are welcoming an expansion of a provincial education grant program that will attract new healthcare workers to small, rural, and northern communities

The Ontario government has announced that the Learn and Stay grant, which was initially announced in March 2022 for students in nursing programs, has now been expanded to include paramedic and medical laboratory technologist programs in priority communities.

“This innovative program helps ensure that healthcare organizations in remote areas of the province have the health human resources needed to maintain access to the highest quality of care,” said Fannie Vavoulis, director of communications at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA).

Students who are eligible for the grant will receive full upfront funding for tuition, books and other direct educational costs, in return for working in the region where they studied for a minimum of six months for every year funded by the grant.

Several post-secondary institutions in neighbouring communities have been included as eligible institutions for the grant, including Fanshawe College and Western University in London, the University of Windsor and St. Clair College in Windsor, and Lambton College in Sarnia.

“CKHA has a strong relationship with many of the eligible educational institutions that have been identified under the program,” said Vavoulis. “We look forward to learning more about the program.”

The government has committed $61 million over the next three years for the Learn and Stay grant, which will open for applications this spring for the 2023-2024 academic year.