Assiniboine Community College (ACC) and Long Plain First Nation are partnering to provide an Applied Counselling certificate program in the Long Plain First Nation community located southwest of Portage la Prairie.
The program curriculum covers everything from children, youth, and family counselling skills, to trauma and crisis. “Community-based education offers many advantages to students who are unable to relocate for post-secondary studies for extended periods of time,” said Assiniboine president Mark Frison.
The curriculum is intended to expand on the knowledge and skills in their current field, such as family services, healthcare, youth services, education, and caregiving. To integrate theory and practice, the program concludes with a practicum – an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned. A total of twenty-five students will begin the twenty-month program in late January.
Chief Dennis Meeches describes the collaboration as “an exciting program that will benefit Indigenous people. We look forward to the Applied Counselling Program and wish our participants all the best in achieving desired outcomes”.
The program will be offered part-time to accommodate the many students enrolled that are currently working in support-oriented positions like Long Plain Employment and Training, Long Plain Health, Long Plain School, Long Plain Daycare, Long Plain Jordan’s Principles, and Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services.
Elder Ernie Daniels will play a key role in contextualizing learning and offering guidance and support to students and staff throughout their journey through the program. In Long Plain First Nation, it is common for community elders and knowledge keepers to be involved in such programs and their delivery.
ACC is accustomed partnering with communities to develop and deliver place-based education. A group of First Nations, including Long Plain and the Manitoba Métis Foundation have collaborated with ACC to offer the Enhanced Aboriginal Practical Nursing program in Southport, Manitoba. In addition, twenty-two students graduated last April from the Applied Counselling program, the result of a partnership between ACC and Ebb & Flow First Nation.