SPRINGHILL - More than ever, the social services diploma program at Nova Scotia Community College Cumberland Campus is focusing on the rural job labour market.
"There was a labour market scan done provincially and that resulted in a need to support rural communities," said Connie Fisher, academic chair for the school of health and human services and access at NSCC.
Fisher, along with Albert Rodgers, faculty of social services at the Cumberland Campus, recently launched a revision of the two-year social services program offered in Springhill.
"Social services is redesigned to be more of a generalist program where students have the opportunity to select specialties within the two-year program," said Fisher.
Those opportunities will allow students to stay in Cumberland County.
"In the past it was split," said Fisher. "Students would spend one year at one campus and then go elsewhere, and that created limitations on what campuses could offer."
Graduates also get to know employers in the county.
"We talked with potential employers of these graduates," said Fisher. "The intent of the program is to have a real integrated, collaborative approach to supporting employers with the needs they have..."
A brochure provided at the launch says graduates find employment in services for individuals in transition homes for special care, family support and resource centres, emergency shelters, community drop-ins, after school care projects, and not-for-profit organizations that provide service to children, youth, and adults.
"There will be a lot of group and project work connecting with industry," said Fisher. "We'll be bringing those industry partners into the classroom to establish good connections with the students as they move through the two years.
"This allows our applicants to stay here in the community, complete their education and then work here in the area."
The course covers a broad range of topics, including psychology, sociology, personal awareness and growth, family studies, and mental health issues.
Social services begins September 2014. The campus can take up to 25 students and seats are still available.
For more information call the Cumberland Campus at 597-3737.