John Jackson, President & CEO

LINKS Institute, a private career college focused on health and social services, is on the move: with the opening of a leased 1800 square foot training centre in downtown Brandon. LINKS Institute started operating in March 2021 as an online education college with a focus on training community support workers. Until now, LINKS has held an office in the Brandon Chamber of Commerce building. Almost one year on, with 3 programs and a number of soon to be graduates, John Jackson, President & CEO, said the addition of physical space was a logical progression. “Personally, I have been humbled at the tremendous support of both students who have chosen to study with LINKS Institute, and community partners who are encouraging prospective students, and accepting students for practicum placements”, says Jackson. “This success has meant the need to increase our physical space, and I decided that Brandon was the place to do that, versus a venture in Winnipeg or elsewhere”.

Brandon is a highly attractive location for international students and we are excited to provide an additional option to the programs offered by Brandon University and Assiniboine Community College

John Jackson

Jackson says that LINKS Institute will occupy the top floor of 1202 Princess Avenue, the building previously occupied by Princess Dental Center. In addition to offering their existing online programs in person, Jackson states that LINKS is in the process of developing programs eligible for International students. “A key aspect of our strategy for 2022 is to create and implement innovative health and social service programs based on local and regional need. For career colleges, such programs include professions which belong to regulated associations”, says Jackson. “We know that Brandon is a highly attractive location for international students and we are excited to provide an additional option to the programs offered by Brandon University, and Assiniboine Community College. We believe that our programs and student recruitment strategies will bring further economic development and enrichment to Brandon and the Westman region.”

Previously the Executive Director of Samaritan House Ministries, Jackson has been committed to the needs of people who live and work in downtown Brandon. “We know that when students are drawn downtown, this may have a flow on effect in terms of accessing other retail services, plus the general presence of more traffic continues to improve downtown”, says Jackson. “We are excited to be in a position to expand our programming into a physical training space”, says Jackson, “which will act both as a location for prospective students and community members to stop by and learn about our programs, and add to further revitalization in Downtown Brandon”.

Although securing a physical training centre, Jackson maintains his commitment to online education as the way of the future and a strategy to lower barriers to education for students. “I am also a learner, completing a PhD in Nursing through the University of Manitoba. My education has been possible due to the available online format. While LINKS was inspired by COVID-19, our spirit is greater than a trend to online learning caused by the pandemic. We truly believe that online education reduces barriers for people who are unable to relocate from their home community. Many students find themselves moving a long distance for school, being removed from their supports, and ultimately failing. By enabling students to remain in their home community, we increase the chance of their educational success, which is a win-win for everyone”, says Jackson.

The further goal of LINKS Institute is to assist rural and remote communities in Manitoba and beyond to develop their own human resources capacity through locally trained professionals who can work in the community, versus having to be recruited from elsewhere, in an already highly competitive human resources landscape.

LINKS Institute is set to occupy the space on Princess Avenue in March and anticipates offering in-person classes over the summer of 2022. For information, contact John Jackson at