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OCTOBER 2, 2012

Three Rivers to offer free CNA classes

Three Rivers College in October will begin offering programs at no or little cost to participants that can lead to entry-level positions in the healthcare field.

The college is using funds from a MoHealthWINs grant to offer programs in Certified Nursing Assistant, Certified Medication Technician, and Certified Insulin Administration.

"There are many job openings for people with these certifications," said Richard McGill, Three Rivers interim Dean of Career Education and Workforce Development. "Because of the MoHealthWINS funds, area residents can get affordable training for these jobs and start a career path in the healthcare field."

The grant pays for tuition and books for participants, and in many cases there is other funding available to pay other costs such as insurance and uniforms, said Deb Avery, a Three Rivers nursing instructor who is overseeing the CNA training program.

The program is aimed at area residents who are unemployed, underemployed, and/or low-skilled and those eligible to receive training through the Trade Readjustment Act, McGill said.

Entry-level wages for Certified Nursing Assistants are $8 to $10 per hour, with higher salaries offered for those with experience and extra certifications, such as medication technician and insulin administration, according to the Missouri Division of Career Education.

"Not only do Certified Nursing Assistants start at salaries above the minimum wage, many employers of CNAs offer health insurance and other benefits for full-time employees," Avery said.

The program was designed with multiple entry and exit points, said Avery. Participants with no prior experience start with CNA training, which includes CPR certification. CNAs provide basic patient care - including feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, and moving patients - under the direction of nursing staff. Those who are already CNAs can apply to receive training to be a Certified Medication Technician, who assists nurses in medication therapy, and Certified Insulin Administration, who assist with insulin therapy.

In addition, participants receive training and can receive certificates of completion for job readiness skills such as maintaining professionalism in the workplace. Three Rivers has hired a career mentor to work with those interested in the program on applications and eligibility and to work with participants on career/training planning, certification testing, and job placement, McGill said.

"This program gives people training for a career earning a living wage," McGill said. "We have built in flexibility so people from a wide range of skill levels and educational attainment can move through the program and become employable."

MoHealthWINs is a Department of Labor grant-funded program to serve Trade Act participants as well as veterans, unemployed and underemployed individuals, and low-skilled persons in Missouri in health services/health sciences career pathways throughout the state. Missouri's 12 community colleges and one state technical college are participating in MoHealthWINs.

For more information on the CNA training program offered by Three Rivers College, call 573-840-9681.

Beginning in October, Three Rivers College will use funds from a MoHealthWINS grant to offer free classes in several program areas related to healthcare.
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