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New Nursing Assistant Apprenticeship Program ‘Is The First Of Its Kind’ In The State Of Oregon, Effort Will Support Residents & Staff At Nursing Facilities

Published Thursday, April 1, 2021
New Nursing Assistant Apprenticeship Program ‘Is The First Of Its Kind’ In The State Of Oregon, Effort Will Support Residents & Staff At Nursing Facilities

(THE STATE OF OREGON) - Nursing facilities and other places of care for vulnerable community members have struggled with high staffing turnover of Nursing Assistants and Front-Line Staff for decades.

Now, the Long-Term CareWorks’ Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN) Apprenticeship is the first Certified Nursing Apprenticeship Program in Oregon.

It was approved by the Oregon State Apprenticeship and Training Council.

In an exciting partnership, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 503 and a group of nursing facility providers worked together to set it up to train and certify Nursing Assistants.

It will make a positive impact for nursing facility residents and Workers who support them and build a stable workforce for long-term care employers.

“This Apprenticeship Program will give Workers access to paid on-the-job training to build their skills and earning potential, while also offering long-term care providers a high-quality pool of job applicants,” Oregon State Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle said.

“In college, I worked as A Nursing Assistant in a memory care home.  It is very physically demanding work and usually low paid.  High turnover of qualified, experienced Staff has direct impacts on the quality of care for residents and I’m excited about how this program will address that,” Hoyle said.

The Long-Term CareWorks’ CNA Apprenticeship will provide certified classroom instruction and paid on-the-job training.

It will operate with a competency-based model, with structured mentorship and small cohorts of 10 Apprentices.

After completing the year-long program, each Apprentice will have mastered the skills needed to be a qualified Nursing Assistant and meet industry standards.

The program will be available to employers and Employees in the long- term care industry throughout the state.

Additional wrap-around services will be available to support participants through child care and transportation assistance and stipends for supplies and housing.

Patsy Richards, who serves as the Director of Long-Term CareWorks, says the program has already paid dividends for the inaugural cohort.

“Every time I talk with the Apprentices in our program, I see our life-changing potential for both long-term care consumers and the workers who support them.  In the next few months, Long-Term CareWorks’ CNA Apprenticeship will touch hundreds of lives throughout the state,” she said.

"In my ten years working at nursing homes, I’ve seen the toll that turnover and vacancies have on our seniors and people with disabilities," said Ron Strle, a CNA and SEIU Member in Hood River. "I'm excited that the nursing homes are working with our Union to address this issue by investing in an Apprenticeship Program.  By supporting Staff, we can attract and retain more people - and that's a great step forward for long-term care.”

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