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Campus Life  

Major gift from BMO to support community progress is worth smiling about

BMO representatives along with OC staff and CDA students celebrated the naming of the third floor the BMO Dental Health Floor.

A major gift from BMO will support community dental care while making it easier for more people to train to become in-demand Certified Dental Assistants (CDAs).

BMO is giving $250,000 to Okanagan College’s (OC) Our Students, Your Health campaign in support of the CDA program.  OC’s state-of-the-art dental suite, used for training and as a community clinic, will receive $150,000. An additional $100,000 will be used to kickstart a hands-on learning pilot program that will enable people to become CDAs while they continue to work.

In recognition of their generous donation, the third floor of OC’s Health Sciences Centre is named the BMO Dental Health Floor.

“We’re beyond grateful to BMO and its commitment to supporting a healthy community,” said Helen Jackman, executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation. “Their generous gift helps us educate students and explore innovative ways to deliver programming. We’re thrilled that BMO’s gift will make it easier for more people to choose a career path as a certified dental assistant.”

According to the BC Dental Association, CDAs are in high demand across British Columbia with an estimated 800 current openings. After hearing from dentists that it can be difficult to lose their current assistants to a 10-month traditional CDA program, OC decided to create a hands-on learning program that will enable students who are unable to take the traditional program the opportunity to gain their CDA credential and license while continuing to work. 

“This gift will remove barriers to education and support greater access to quality dental care, helping our employees, our customers and communities we serve,” said John Duff, regional vice president, BC and Yukon Region, BMO. 

“BMO has a long-standing record of supporting community organizations providing important health and education services. This gift is one way we’re working to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, working with partners like Okanagan College’s Our Students, Your Health campaign to make progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future, and inclusive society.”

The new program will especially help those in outlying regions have access to education and training and provide employers the ability to keep their employees working while supporting them in advancing their career goals. 

BMO’s gift is part of an ongoing successful fundraiser to support the demand for more CDA education. More than 90 Okanagan dental clinics have donated their precious metals and cash to the OC Foundation, making it possible for Okanagan College to educate an additional 24 CDA students in the 2023-2024 year. 

“We want to acknowledge and celebrate the impact our dental community is making on students,” added Jackman. “Their incredible support, along with BMO, is removing barriers to education so more students can learn in-demand skills and find rewarding careers.”

A key part of the pilot program will be to develop a sustainable funding model to continue the program and serve the local dental community. 

To learn more about the new hands-on learning program and fundraiser, click here.



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