Issue: March 2008 Issue
Nursing Program Creates Much-Needed Jobs for Graduates and Northeast Ohio
When asked about the value of the American Red Cross, Greater Cleveland Chapterâ€™s Northeast Ohio Nurse Assistant Training Program (NEO-NAT), participants are enthusiastic.
â€œI have just now found my purpose in my life with this new and exciting career change,â€� says C.C. from Cuyahoga County.
â€œThis program has helped me look at myself, change that negativity and turn it into something positive,â€� reports A.M. from Summit County.
These comments are representative of the 60 percent of program graduates who found employment as nurse assistants and home health aides.
NEO-NAT, a collaborative effort between the local Red Cross and Berea Childrenâ€™s Home and Family Services (BCHFS), is funded by an Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) grant. The program enrolled 400 individuals in a 10-county area in a 45-hour life skills assessment and training program. From that pool, 280 participants entered the 120-hour Nurse Assistant Training Program.
Mary-Alice Frank, CEO of the Greater Cleveland Red Cross, says NEO-NAT helps people learn skills that result in jobs. â€œMany of the program participants are recipients of public assistance and have families to support, but donâ€™t have the work history or experience needed to obtain or retain a job. Some have barriers to employment or other obstacles that prohibit them from being successful,â€� she explains.
The life skills component and related case management support â€œtruly empower graduates to gain control of their lives, personally, financially and professionally,â€� Frank adds.
The programâ€™s benefits extend into the community. â€œOur graduates are able to provide the quality care and compassion so desperately needed by our elderly population,â€� Frank says. Further, the annual income tax potential is greater than $1 million — as graduates generate income, they spend it on retail and housing without relying on public assistance.
Finally, the program addresses the areaâ€™s nursing shortage. More than 60 regional employers hired NEO-NAT graduates. â€œArea employers are able to benefit from well-trained nurse assistants and home health aide staff,â€� Frank says. â€œOur graduates will not only fill the demand for entry level positions, but many will go on to continue their education to become LPNs and RNs.â€�
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