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WATERLOO – Hawkeye Community College in Cedar Falls, Friendship Village in Waterloo, Pillar of the Cedar Valley in Waterloo and the IowaWORKS Center in Waterloo, together with the U.S. Department of Labor/Office of Apprenticeship, launched a Certified Nursing Assistant Registered Apprenticeship Program.

A registered apprenticeship is employer-driven training combined with on-the-job learning and related classroom instruction. The program allows the registered apprentice to earn a paycheck from day one while learning. The CNA registered apprenticeship is a competency-based program with the classroom training provided through Hawkeye Community College.

Srdjan Golub, director of business and community education with Hawkeye Community College, said, “Local health care providers shared with Hawkeye concerns regarding shortage of CNAs and high turnover rate for the occupation. From experience we know that registered apprenticeships are a successful training and employment model to train highly skilled workers and reduce turnover. Therefore, Hawkeye developed curriculum for a one-year, three-level, 250-270-hour CNA apprenticeship. We are hoping that the earn as you learn model will give incentives to individuals to enter and stay in the industry.”

Friendship Village and Pillar of the Cedar Valley are the first two companies to sign onto the program.

“Friendship Village is truly excited to be a part of the CNA Apprenticeship Program. Like many retirement facilities, we are challenged at times with staffing shortages. This program is a way to develop entry level staff into highly trained, professional CNAs with med aide or rehab aide status when finished. Friendship Village continues to build a very strong educational program to attract new workers and better equip our family to be even better caregivers for our residents that live here. This is a win-win program for the residents and employees that make up our Friendship Village family,” said Sherry Turner, vice president of health service.

Growing registered apprenticeship opportunities in Iowa is a goal of a grant received by Iowa Workforce Development from the U.S. Department of Labor. A registered apprenticeship provides training that leads to a U.S. Department of Labor certification that is recognized throughout the United States.

Sheri Sigler, administrator at Pillar of the Cedar Valley, stated, “Certified nursing assistants perform a pivotal role in the success of a health care facility. By making a positive investment into one of the most challenging positions in healthcare, we can show appreciation to certified nursing assistants and what they provide to the success of a team. Joining the C.N.A registered apprenticeship program early on is one way we can invest in the care of our residents and show appreciation to those that care for them.”

For more information, go to earnandlearniowa.gov.

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