A Record $5M Donated to Conestoga College to Create Canada’s First Integrated Strategy to Support the Training and Education of PSWs

The Cowan Foundation is thrilled to announce a $5M major investment in Conestoga College as part of a broader $10M initiative to address the urgent need for additional health care professionals including personal support workers (PSWs) at the frontline of care. This donation, made in honour of Frances Cowan, represents the largest donation in the history of The Cowan Foundation. It is also the largest donation Conestoga College has received from any benefactor. Our investment will play a catalyst role in creating Canada’s first integrated strategy to support the training and education of PSWs through flexible program delivery designed to meet learning needs of PSW 'student' populations. The program, which will be delivered online, will also be the most technologically advanced of its kind in Canada.

“Like so many Canadians with family in assisted living or long-term care, I have always been appreciative of the efforts of PSWs as they work to care for our elderly," says Maureen Cowan, Chairman of The Cowan Foundation. "Their value in the health care delivery system has been amplified during this COVID-19 crisis, and I am deeply grateful to them for all they do. We hope that this $5M gift, made in honour of my grandmother, Frances Cowan, will elevate the importance of the work of current PSWs and create an opportunity for diverse methods of training and delivery with state-of-the-art technology, not only within the Cowan Health Science Centre but in special on-site labs in hospitals and retirement homes in smaller communities. We want to remove barriers to opportunity and provide more individuals across the Province of Ontario with a pathway to learning and meaningful employment, so we are well prepared to deliver the highest quality care and to meet the future needs of seniors in their homes and diverse care environments.”

"The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the urgent need for innovation and research in developing and maintaining a qualified workforce for seniors care. The Cowan Foundation's generous investment and vision for the future of PSW education will position us as an emerging leader in applied research and innovation focused on education and workforce development to improve the quality of life of Canadian seniors," says Conestoga President John Tibbits.

“I am so thankful to The Cowan Foundation for their generous $5M investment in Conestoga College. This is an incredible investment for the college and the greater community they represent,” says Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “I am excited to see Conestoga adopt a new, innovative ‘hub and spoke’ delivery model that will capitalize on new technology to expand training for PSWs across Southwestern Ontario. I commend both The Cowan Foundation and Conestoga College for their efforts in bettering the education of our future frontline health care workers.”

Click here to read the full press release.