Workforce Investment Act (WIA): Career Pathways for Youth Program

The University of West Alabama’s Division of Outreach Services proudly received a Workforce Investment Act (WIA) grant from Gov. Robert Bentley in 2012 in that launched the start of a program known as the Career Pathways for Youth Program: Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA). This program is designed to provide out-of-school youth between the ages of 16-21 the opportunity to start careers in the growing and competitive health-care profession.

The University of West Alabama offers the Certified Nursing Assistant Program for youth between the ages of 16-21 who have finished high school or earned their GED but also 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. The program’s goal is to recruit 48 students annually from the Black Belt counties to participate in the program over the course of 12 months.

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

After students complete the 79 hour program, which includes classroom and clinical work students will be eligible to sit for the National Nurse Aid Assessment exam and upon passing become certified as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Students will be able to take what they have learned 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 provides students with hands on skills on how to prepare a résumé and basic computer skills.

This project is funded 100% with Federal Funds made available to the State of Alabama by the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration as the Grantor