June marks the completion of the fourth year of the School District of New Berlin’s on-site certified nursing assistant program.
The program was created to support students interested in pursuing healthcare-related careers after graduation. The district now supports approximately 50 students annually to complete the course, which includes skills training in the lab located at New Berlin Eisenhower and clinical rotations at LindenGrove New Berlin. Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) secures staffing for the course. Students from New Berlin West are provided time in their schedule and transportation as needed to take the class at Eisenhower.
“The opportunity to bring together students and elders through the CNA program has benefits far beyond classroom learning,” said Linda Joel, President and CEO of LindenGrove Communities. “The goal of LindenGrove is to enrich the lives of our residents, and having the CNA students involved in their care brings joy and purpose to everyone involved. LindenGrove is proud to help develop the healthcare professionals of the future through this strong partnership.”
The CNA lab was originally funded through a generous sponsorship from LindenGrove New Berlin. The Wisconsin Fast Forward Pupil Grant program helped subsidize initial operating costs. The state’s technical education incentive grant program helps to subsidize ongoing costs; operating the program onsite to reduce barriers to access, however, is more expensive than sending students to WCTC.
Students have the opportunity to take the state’s certification exam onsite in the school district. Being listed on the Wisconsin Certified Nursing Assistant Registry is required for students to secure employment as a CNA and other related healthcare positions. The CNA certification is also a prerequisite for many healthcare related collegiate education programs.
Once they pass the state exam, SDNB students can pursue jobs in the region at local hospitals, senior care centers, and with in-home care agencies to gain experience in nursing and exposure to other related occupations before they finalize their post-secondary plans. CNAs who are under 18 can also complete the state’s Youth Apprenticeship program, which earns them another credential to complement their resume.
"Partnering with the team at the SDNB confirms our commitment to both investing in our youth in furthering their education and pursuing their goals and enables us to then provide the students with employment opportunities as well,” said Joanne Belanger, owner and CEO of BrightStar Care of Greater Waukesha.
“Together, we are working on addressing the shortage of healthcare professionals to better service the local community."The district recently held an end-of-year celebration luncheon for the students and program partners. “Sustaining this program takes a collective commitment from our Board of Education, the state of Wisconsin and its career and technical education incentive grants, WCTC for staffing, and our community partners,” said SDNB Superintendent Joe Garza. “LindenGrove and BrightStar Care of Greater Waukesha have really stepped up to ensure that we can sustain the program onsite in the School District of New Berlin.
great example of a win-win business-education partnership we hope continues for years to come. We couldn’t do it without them.”