Assiniboine Community College celebrated the grand opening of its rural rotating Practical Nursing site in Virden on Tuesday.

The Virden site has 15 students training over the next two years.

While the site welcomed nursing students in early September, the college marked the opening of the new rotating site with an event that welcomed nursing students and staff, local MLA Greg Nesbitt, partners from the Town of Virden and Prairie Mountain Health, and other community partners.

“Assiniboine continues to be responsive to Manitoba’s labour market and support economic growth by meeting community needs. Our rural rotating Practical Nursing sites answer the call on both of these priorities, and it is a pleasure to celebrate a new site in Virden and Otterburne this week,” said Mark Frison, president at Assiniboine.

“We thank our partners in community, healthcare and government for ensuring we can offer more training opportunities, increasing the number of qualified nurses in the workforce to address the healthcare labour shortage.”

Virden Mayor Tina Williams appreciates the opportunity for her community to be a host site. “We put up $70,000 towards remodeling the building being used as the training site. We’ve asked area municipalities to chip in and some are doing just that.”

“Our collaborative partnership with Assiniboine continues to provide excellent opportunities for individuals to enter the health-care field closer to home,” said Brian Schoonbaert, CEO of Prairie Mountain Health. “We are very pleased to see the Practical Nursing site in Virden and look forward to connecting with participants closer to graduation during the 2023-2024 academic year.”

Practical Nursing is the largest single program of study at Assiniboine, with 100 per cent of graduates surveyed reporting they had jobs. Since 1975, more than 4,200 individuals have graduated from nursing programs offered by the college.

In addition to rural rotating sites, the college has permanent Practical Nursing programs at its campuses in Brandon, Winnipeg, Dauphin and Portage la Prairie.