GREEN BAY, Wis (WBAY) -- There’s a nursing shortage in the Badger State, and long-term care and nursing homes are feeling the brunt of it.
In fact, data show 20 percent of long-term caregiving positions are currently unfilled in the state.
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is doing its part to bridge the gap by hosting a nursing open house Tuesday night at four different campuses. Potential students are invited to check out the labs, state-of-the-art technology and talk with professors and future employers.
“CNA’s (certified nursing assistant) are really the most in demand right now. That is nursing home or long-term care,” said Scott Anderson, NWTC’s Dean of Health Sciences and Education. “It’s expected within in the next 5 to 10 years that vacancy rate will go up to 25 percent.”
The CNA program is 120 hours and is offered in a variety of formats. Anderson said it is also offered year-round so people don’t have to wait until summer or fall to get started.
“We just received results from 2018 nursing associate degree graduates, and we are seeing a 96 percent employment rate for those individuals," said Anderson, "so virtually everyone who is graduating is getting a job."
Anderson said the number of jobs for nurses is only going to grow.
“Right now there are over 90,000 residents living in long-term care facilities, and that is expected to rise as our population gets older, so the need is going to be more acute,” said Anderson.
Because of the need for CNA’s, the State of Wisconsin is offering a deal for new nursing assistants.
“The ‘WisCaregiver’ grant is a partnership between education and employers in the state,” said Anderson. “So the state will provide free training -- all the supplies, uniforms, books, everything is included in that -- and then on employer side, once they are employed for six months, they will get a $500 bonus for their employment.” For more information, visit WisCaregiver.com.
Anderson said everyone is invited to check out NWTC’s nursing programs.
“We really want to get people involved in the nursing pathway and then see them continue,” said Anderson.
NWTC nursing student Matt Mulrooney wants to graduate with his Registered Nurse (RN) degree then go for his Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN).
“I wanted to do it for a long time but my family owned another company so I worked for that for quite a while and actually my dad passed away so then I decided to take my own path and actually go after my dreams now,” said Mulrooney.
Mulrooney is 35 years old but wants others considering a career in nursing to know that it’s never too late to go after your dream.
“It doesn’t matter what age you are, you know. You can start out of high school or older when you already had a career,” said Mulrooney. “In high school I was always scared of going above and beyond, but once I started working in the field and actually owning the company my family owned, I said, ‘Hey, I can take on anything.’ It made me come back and go for my dream.”