December 03, 2021

Colleges respond to support emergency CNA training for Minnesota National Guard

National Guard members in CNA lab at Anoka Tech

Anoka Technical College and Anoka-Ramsey Community College are proud to be part of the 16 colleges in Minnesota State to provide emergency Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training for over 300 Minnesota National Guard members. The CNA training will prepare guard members to support long-term care facilities to help address the healthcare worker shortage in long-term care facilities across the state.

“The condensed training in a Nursing Assistant certificate gives them a foundational training and credential for a future in healthcare if needed or desired,” shared Laura Cleveland, director of professional and workforce  training at Anoka Technical College and Anoka-Ramsey Community College.

Cleveland helped mobilize the colleges to support this emergency request in collaboration with the Minnesota State Healthcare Training Network, Minnesota State’s non-credit healthcare training sector. 

“We are proud to be able to help in this way, it’s what we’re here for,” said Cleveland.

Stepping Up to a Call for Service

major LaFontaine in CNA training at Anoka Tech

Major LaFontaine is one of the National Guard members who volunteered for this service. He has been part of the Minnesota National Guard since late 2008 and joined to continue his service after being on active duty in the Navy and as a Navy Reserve Sailor.

“I did volunteer for this opportunity, when there’s a legitimate need to help out fellow Minnesotans I just felt the need to step up,” shared LaFontaine. “The training has been intimate and a lot of the skills we work on are learning to help people out with daily activities like helping people ambulate, get up, move around, assisting with meals, assisting with any and all daily activities.”

A Credential for the Future

National Guard members who complete the training with a passing grade will also be eligible to sit for the written and skills test. Participants who pass both portions of the testing for nursing assistant will be placed on the Minnesota Nursing Assistant Registry and will be eligible to continue working as a nursing assistant in their civilian life. This training may be the start to a career pathway in a very high demand field. According to RealTime Talent, prior the COVID-19 pandemic, nine employers completed a two-year forecast estimating they would need to fill 5,400 positions just within their metro region locations.

Anoka Tech and Anoka-Ramsey’s Professional and Workforce Training Center both offer a CNA program with multiple start times throughout the year.

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