NTC uses English Language Learning program to combat CNA shortage

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 6:23 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - CNA’s have to pass an exam to become certified and they have to take it in English. For some people, it’s a barrier preventing them from pursuing the career. That’s why Northcentral Technical College offers English Language Learning programs. But, even with support programs, it’s still a challenge.

“In the CNA program you’re learning medical English which is like another language besides English, all that medical terminology,” said Cathy Stamos, ELL instructor at Northcentral Technical College.

Getting the CNA certification is a stepping stone to becoming a registered nurse. Nurses are in high demand, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Around 500 thousand are expected to retire by the end of 2022. New people will have to take those positions and staff at NTC are working diligently to prepare students.

“She comes in on weekends to help students practice the vocabulary,” said Stamos.

Vocabulary lessons are offered online and due to the influence of the pandemic, so is the ELL program. Stamos saw an increase in enrollment since they began teaching online.

“For any teacher, your favorite student is the student that really wants to learn. Our English learners are students that come to campus motivated. They know they need to learn English, they want to learn it,” said Stamos.

The reward for staying motivated, learning English, and then getting the CNA certificate is big. Nearly 99% of rural hospitals surveyed that they were experiencing a staffing shortage and 96% said they had a nursing shortage, according to a survey from Vox. That means getting a job once you graduate from the program is almost guaranteed.

If you want to get earn a CNA certificate, but English is in the way, Stamos said now is the best time to start learning. You can enroll in ELL classes any time of the year. To get started call 715-803-1152.

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