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Education

Generous Contribution from BMO to Advance Community Development Sparks Joy

BMO has pledged $250,000 to Okanagan College’s (OC) Our Students, Your Health campaign, aimed at supporting the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) program. Of this amount, $150,000 will enhance OC’s state-of-the-art dental suite, utilized for both training purposes and community clinics. An additional $100,000 will initiate a hands-on learning pilot program, facilitating individuals to pursue CDA certification while remaining employed.

In acknowledgment of this generous contribution, the third floor of OC’s Health Sciences Centre has been designated as the BMO Dental Health Floor.

Expressing gratitude, Helen Jackman, executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation, emphasized BMO’s pivotal role in promoting community health. She remarked on the donation’s significance in fostering student education and innovation, particularly in expanding opportunities for aspiring Certified Dental Assistants.

The demand for CDAs in British Columbia, estimated at 800 current vacancies by the BC Dental Association, underscores the necessity for innovative educational approaches. Responding to feedback from dentists regarding the challenges of releasing current assistants for a traditional 10-month CDA program, OC devised a hands-on learning initiative. This initiative enables students to obtain their CDA credential and license while concurrently employed.

John Duff, regional vice president of the BC and Yukon Region at BMO, emphasized the gift’s role in enhancing educational accessibility and promoting quality dental care. He highlighted BMO’s commitment to community welfare and collaboration with organizations like Okanagan College to foster economic prosperity, sustainability, and inclusivity.

The new program is poised to particularly benefit individuals in remote areas, providing them access to education and training opportunities. Moreover, it enables employers to support their employees in advancing their careers while remaining in the workforce.

BMO’s contribution is integral to the ongoing effort to address the increasing demand for CDA education. Over 90 dental clinics in the Okanagan region have contributed precious metals and funds to the OC Foundation, facilitating the education of an additional 24 CDA students in the 2023-2024 academic year.

The collaborative efforts of the dental community, alongside BMO’s generosity, exemplify a collective commitment to breaking down educational barriers and empowering students to pursue fulfilling careers.

A pivotal aspect of the pilot program will involve developing a sustainable funding model to ensure its continuation and benefit to the local dental community.

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