Grant for starting career in health care - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Grant for starting career in health care

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Governor Robert Bentley is making it easier for some Alabamians to start their careers in health-care.  He awarded a $107,367 grant for out-of-school youth in four west Alabama counties.  The University of West Alabama will offer the Certified Nursing Assistant Program for people, ages 16-21 who have finished high school or earned their GED, but lack the skills needed for long-term employment. The short-term training program combines classroom learning with work experience to prepare participants for jobs at health-care facilities in west Alabama. Program officials expect 48 students from Choctaw, Greene, Pickens and Sumter counties to participate in the program over the next 12 months.

"This program is a win-win, for participants and for west Alabama health-care providers," Bentley said. "Students learn skills to qualify for careers in a high-demand profession, and health-care providers get a ready pool of qualified workers to provide quality patient care at their facilities."

Nursing assistants work under the supervision of a licensed nurse to assist patients with daily tasks such as eating and bathing. According to the university, the demand for nursing assistants will grow 21-35 percent over the next decade because of increasing demand for long-term care for older Americans.

Students will put what they learn in the classroom into practice by completing at least 24 hours of unpaid work experience in a nursing home or assisted-living facility. The program also teaches students how to prepare a resumé and basic computer skills.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Labor.