This post is from Jai Nassim
While most people were dreaming of tropical weather, I plunged deeper into the Polar Vortex this winter on a trip to Ohio for a video project with our partner Walmart that will highlight the Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training program. During my trip, I got to meet and interview graduates such as Jody Gabriel and Carrie Hodges-Gay at the Red Cross Greater Cleveland Chapter during the program’s graduation and job fair. Their heartwarming stories of triumph reminded me that anything is possible.
Jody and Carrie are recent graduates of the training program, and recipients of $1,000 Walmart stipends that helped to cover the majority of the costs for the training and course materials.
Jody, a 37 year-old single mother of a 12 year-old son and four year-old daughter is preparing for the state exam to become a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) to support her family. “I found myself unemployed and a single mom of two children, and I needed to find a way to provide for them. I always wanted to do nursing and thought this would be a good place to start.”
“This course, with my prior job skills, will open many doors to employment that will help me and my children remain in our home and [maintain a] stable lifestyle.”
Carrie started her career in healthcare in the 1970s, but had to put her career dreams aside to raise nine children as a single mother. Now, at 59, Carrie—with the encouragement of her husband, nine children and 31 grandchildren—went back to school to become a CNA. Carrie is now happily employed and pursuing her passion of caring for others.
“I worked every job I could to raise my family. I focused on teaching my children to work and get an education and a career, not just a job. Out of nine children I have six [working] in healthcare fields.”
“Now that my children are all grown, it’s my time to put my heart back into healthcare. I’m ready to go.”
The Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training program provides skills needed to become a CNA. Students are taught how to provide basic care and support for residents in long-term care facilities, private homes, and in hospitals and hospice settings. Graduates earn average wage increases of approximately 20 percent, and more than 86 percent of former students said the program provided them with the skills and confidence to be effective CNAs.
With a certification exam pass rate greater than 90 percent, the Red Cross training program is helping communities across the country satisfy the growing healthcare need for qualified CNAs. To learn more about the Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training program, visit our website.