WASHINGTON, D.C. (FOX 9) - A free training program to help boost the number of certified nursing assistants in Minnesota has been extended by the administration of Gov. Tim Walz. The program now runs through the end of February 2023.
The Next Generation Nursing Assistant Initiative was championed by Minnesota Senator Tina Smith and included in the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress. The initiative granted Minnesota $3.4 million which it used earlier this year to train 1,370 CNAs for open positions across the state. The training program was so successful that the Walz Administration has diverted another $2.4 million from the state’s COVID-19 Management Appropriation Fund to extend the free training through February.
"It makes it possible for an individual to go through this 2-to-3-week training program a cost-free," said Sen. Smith. "So it covers their tuition, their books, their uniform, any other fees that they might have. And that's a big deal because we know that before that help was there for people, large numbers of folks were actually dropping out."
The governor’s office citing data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says nursing assistants are the sixth highest-demand jobs in the state. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to fill these positions.
Those interested in the CNA training program can learn more at the website for the Minnesota Department of Higher Education. The website has links to available training classes at Minnesota State campuses across Minnesota.