Become a CNA for Free: How Minneapolis Teens Benefit – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — To address the growing shortage of healthcare workers, Minneapolis College is offering high school students the opportunity to get their start in the field – for free.

More than a dozen Roosevelt High School teenagers are taking the 10-week training course, which combines virtual and in-person instruction, to prepare for the Certified Nurse Assistant qualifying exam. Normally, the course would cost candidates almost $1500.

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“I always wanted to get into the medical field, and I decided nursing was the best way to do it,” said Alexia McCullough.

She says she would like to become a midwife one day.

“The biggest deciding factor is that it’s free,” she said. “I know college is very expensive and it’s pretty inexpensive training to do on your own – having the opportunity to get paid is something I was really looking forward to being able to do.”

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The course comes as the need for CNAs grows statewide.

“In Minnesota, there are about 15,000 openings for practical nurses right now. That’s a huge number,” said Traci Krause, dean of the School of Nursing, Science and Wellness at Minneapolis College. “There comes a point where you kind of reach a critical mass of those you attracted as an adult. To pique the interest of younger people and allow them to follow that career path, that’s really important.

The course will teach students skills ranging from cleaning and caring for a patient to preparing a busy bed and taking vital signs.

“It’s an opportunity to have a really good, well-paying job,” Krause said.

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“To make a difference in someone’s life – to give them better care on the court and to be able to make them happy at the end of the day – that’s why I do it,” McCullough said.

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