Federal grant funds local training and employment for nurses

Federal Grant Funds Local Nursing Aides Training
Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 11:16 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - The Western Colorado Area Health Education Center was awarded a $2 million grant that address rural healthcare workforce shortages in communities across the country. The goal of the program is to alleviate healthcare workforce shortages by creating sustainable employment and training programs in healthcare occupations.

Here in Grand Junction the grant program focuses on the healthcare occupations of certified nurse aides and personal care providers though classroom training and apprenticeships. Western Colorado Area Health Education Center has been turning out top-quality CNA’s for more than 20 years and the program has traditionally been a very cost effective option, but now with the scholarships the program is nearly completely free for those who qualify.

The goal is to enroll 100 CNA Apprentices and 160 PCP Apprentices over the next four years. Currently more than 40 employers have signed on as Registered Apprenticeship sites in Mesa and Delta County. The program incentivizes employer partners who have the potential for a 50% wage reimbursement of the first month of the apprentice’s employment, building a pipeline of skilled workers, and increased employee retention through ongoing mentorship and additional supports during the 12-month apprenticeship.

Individuals 17 years or older with a commitment to immediate employment upon completion of the course are eligible. After completion of the coursework students are placed at a registered apprenticeship employer site as a paid employee for the next 12 months.

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