In early December 2016, CLC partnered with the Community College of Aurora, and Worklife Partnership to offer team members and their family and friends the ability to obtain a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license at little or no cost.
This program was funded in part by a grant from the Kellogg Foundation, whose purpose is to “raise the floor” in terms of sustainable wages and career growth for students with children under 13.
CLC loved the concept and believes the class helps CLC stand out in this difficult employment market and create a pipeline of highly vetted and committed CNAs.
What makes this class different from other CNA classes is the supportive power of the group. These students start and end the class together. If one of them is struggling, the group lifts them up. Residents and co-workers support and encourage them to persevere. Students take their clinical rotation in our communities so we can keep a close and supportive watch over them.
Of the 26 individuals who initially expressed interest, nine were accepted into the first CNA college credit class. Three of those students were current CLC team members, three were former CLC employees who now work for Bateman, our dining services vendor, and three were friends and family of CLC team members. The class started on June 5 and lasted 10 weeks. As per student preference, the classes were scheduled in the evening – 3 days a week – from 6 to 9 pm. Most of the students work full time. Seven of the nine students graduated from the class and all have scheduled (or passed) the State test that enables them to receive their professional license.
On October 4, the first graduating class was recognized at a monthly CLC leadership team meeting. Students relayed their personal story of the fear and challenges they faced enrolling in college, relearning how to do homework, and balancing work, family and school. Members of the audience were moved to tears. CLC presented each graduate with a stethoscope inscribed with his or her name.
A second cohort class of 13 students began on October 2.
Beyond the obvious advantage of career growth for CLC team members and creating a source of applicants for open positions, our strategic hope for this partnership is facilitating a college experience for those who haven’t had that opportunity, increasing the long term earnings capabilities for the students and serving our mission by providing our CLC residents (or residents in other Organizations) with courageous and committed care partners.