Interested in becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA? Even better, do you want your tuition and lab fees paid for while earning money at the same time? If so, you can be a part of the Apprenticeship Project through Truckee Meadows Community College and Renown Health.
Carmela, a participant in the first class, said being a part of this project was a “heaven-sent opportunity.”
“I promised myself as soon as my youngest daughter started college, I would rediscover myself and take some classes,” Carmela said. “I wanted a career change at the age of 54. I caught a glimpse of patient care challenges when I was working as a cashier and occasional back-up dietary aide at Renown South Meadows Medical Center. It was like an answer to my prayers when I got into the program – a full time job and a new career path with Renown in an all-in-one package.”
As part of this grant program, TMCC pays for the participants’ tuition, lab fee and workbook in addition to the required Basic Life Support Provider CPR course. Renown provides each student with a uniform.
“My favorite part was pursuing my goals with eight others as a team and as a family,” Carmela said. “It is a lot more fun and effective than doing it alone. As we move forward together gaining practical experience at the different medical floors of the hospital, we found ourselves learning valuable lessons in real life situations.”
More details on the program
This is a grant program through TMCC that allows participants to complete a six-credit course over the duration of a semester to be trained as a CNA. Upon completion of the course, they have to take and pass the CNA certification test.
Participants have class two days per week where they learn theory and have lab time. About six weeks into the class, students start clinical work and will be a part of Skilled Nursing and Medical/Surgical units. They work in various capacities until they gain enough CNA skills to start working with the CNAs. Until they have the necessary experience, participants start helping in support rules such as a Personal Service Assistant or Unit Clerk.
Participants are paid for classroom hours, clinical and work time.
Carmela said that the apprenticeship helped her and her fellow students “realize our dreams and bridge that gap between where we were before and where we wanted to be in the future. Some of us wanted to be unit clerks, LPNs, RNs or physicians someday. There are many great possibilities that are open to us after our life as CNA apprentices.”