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Next Generation Nursing Assistant Training Program Advances

The Next Generation Nursing Assistant Training Program has successfully recruited over 1000 individuals into its no-cost training programs throughout the state. Providers should begin to position themselves to connect with students as they complete their training in the upcoming weeks.

In Dec. 2021, Governor Walz announced the Next Generation Nursing Assistant Training Program (NextGen) to recruit, train, and deploy at least 1,000 new Certified Nursing Assistants in long-term care facilities by the end of January. $3.4 million of American Rescue Plan funding was invested in developing and promoting this "no-barrier" training program and covering the costs of tuition, scrubs, testing, and more. As of this week, 1,352 individuals have expressed interest in this program, with 1,115 students enrolled in training. One hundred students trained through LeadingAge Minnesota's OnTrack program, and 338 students trained through high school programs. This map shows the distribution of students throughout the state.

Last week, the Senate Health & Human Services Finance and Policy Committee received an update on the program from Dennis Olson, Commissioner, Minnesota Office of Higher Education and Valerie DeFor, Executive Director, Minnesota State HealthForce Center of Excellence. LeadingAge Minnesota has been participating in twice-weekly meetings convened by Commissioner Olson to inform the development of the NextGen initiative and advocate for additional efforts to address the critical need for Nursing Assistants in our field.

Connecting with CNAs

As students complete their training, the focus shifts to connecting students with employment opportunities. There are several ways providers can reach out to the students participating in the NextGen program:

  • DEED is compiling a list of job fairs and hiring events—sorted by city/region—to send to students and potential students on waiting lists. Providers should fill out this form to add their career fair to the DEED calendar.
  • Providers can also reach out to the training programs to share information about their organization and hiring needs or arrange to speak to classes and students. Use this resource to locate a training program and contact near you.
  • Post your open CNA positions on LeadingAge Minnesota’s Jobs Board - agingservicesjobs.org - which is being promoted to students and prospective students.

If you have questions about the program or how to connect with the newly-trained CNAs in your market, please contact Lori Meyer, Chief Operating Officer at LeadingAge Minnesota.

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Next At the Capitol: Minnesota Senate Hears Long-Term Care Relief Bills

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