Gov. Evers invests $6 million in a state nurse aide training program
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A state program geared toward training health care workers recently received a $6 million investment from Gov. Tony Evers through the American Rescue Plan Act.
“A workforce development program designed to address the CNA shortage in Wisconsin nursing homes by providing free training and $500 caregiver bonuses,” Wisconsin Health Care Association Director of Workforce Development Kate Battiato said.
Battiato says the program aims to encourage new workers to become certified nursing assistants.
“The first thing that our WisCaregiver’s do is select the nursing home employer that’s right for them and then they apply and are hired as a CNA trainee,” Battiato said.
The program works by matching program registrants with a nursing facility that is also a part of the program. Battiato says after 6 months of successful training, the nursing home is reimbursed for the training costs.
“On the employer side, we’re ensuring that our program participants are ready, willing, and able to work in Wisconsin nursing homes before any program dollars are spent,” Battiato said.
With the multi-million dollar investment, Battiato says the program is able to offer a mentorship aspect as well.
“For every mentee that makes it to the six-month mark, that mentor earns a $500 bonus and we’re also providing programming and support to our nursing home facilities to help them develop these programs,” Battiato said.
The program offers CNAs in training a way to earn while they learn.
“That means that our WisCaregivers are able to earn while they learn and start earning a paycheck right away so they don’t have to go through the whole training and then get a job which may take a while and then, you know, two weeks later earn their first paycheck,” Battiato said.
WisCaregiver can even open doors for potential career growth.
“Folks can advance to medication, be a LPN, RN, or go through the more administrative track,” Battiato said.
Jeremy Kiley is the Regional Director of Operations for Dove Health Care. He believes investment in the WisCaregiver Careers program is necessary.
“The health care labor force is a difficult one right now and anything that encourages people to go into health care, I’m definitely going to be supportive of,” Kiley said.
Helping not just bolster staffing, but Kiley says it could even make the process for potential residents smoother.
“Customers have to maybe take a second or third choice facility or travel farther to see a loved one because they can’t get into the facility they want,” Kiley said.
Kiley adds Dove Health Care is taking its own steps to help increase CNAs.
“They’re supplementing that WisCaregiver program by actually paying folks to learn in class during class time,” Kiley said.
There are 249 nursing homes signed up to train CNAs. Battiato said the goal is to get 3,000 trained for this grant cycle.
The WisCaregiver Career application is free and no-prior nursing experience is required.
When you register you’ll be connected with participating nursing homes within a 50-mile radius in hopes of finding a good fit.
To learn more, click here.
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