[ST. PAUL, MN] – After meeting the initial goal of recruiting and training 1,000 new nursing assistants, the Next Generation Nursing Assistant initiative has received additional funding and will be offering more free training throughout the state until February 2023. Governor Tim Walz announced a $2.4 million investment to continue Minnesota's free nursing assistant training program on Sept. 1. The initiative provides Minnesotans with free training, books, uniforms, and covers the cost of the certification exam. Since beginning in December 2021, 1,370 Minnesotans have been recruited and trained to date, strengthening the state's health care workforce pipeline.
"By bolstering our health care workforce and providing pathways to life-long careers, this initiative continues to benefit Minnesotans in the short- and long-term. I'm proud to invest in a program that strengthens our health care workforce, eliminates barriers to entry into high-demand careers, and supports the health of our state," said Governor Walz. "The success of this program is a testament to Minnesota's ability to collaboratively address complex problems."
According to employment data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, nursing assistants are the sixth highest demand job in the state. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated the need for qualified nursing assistants. This initiative invests in the future health of our state by providing trained workers who will fill vacant positions at hospitals, long-term care facilities, and veterans' homes throughout Minnesota.
"We are continuing to build our long-term care workforce, so that Minnesota families can continue to rely on talented, highly qualified nursing assistants to provide critical care for their loved ones. Thank you to the Minnesotans who are taking advantage of this initiative and providing quality care for their communities," said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. "I am grateful for the leadership of Commissioner Olson and the collaboration among our partners in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and higher education to creatively address this critical need."
The State of Minnesota surpassed its goal of recruiting and training 1,000 new CNAs in less than three months. The initial $3.4 million investment was made with Federal American Recovery Plan funds. The new $2.4 million investment comes from the state's COVID-19 Management Appropriation fund.
Achieving that goal required a public-private partnership of state agencies, higher education institutions, and long-term care providers. This work is led by Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) Commissioner Dennis Olson. "I am incredibly proud of this initiative's success, and look forward to continuing the work," OHE Commissioner Dennis Olson said. "This work not only breaks down financial barriers to postsecondary education, connecting more Minnesotans with the skills they need to start a new career, it bolsters our workforce pipeline and supports the state's healthcare industry. This initiative is truly a new model for how we can invest in workers and the economy while filling vacancies in high-need career areas."
"The Next Generation Nursing Assistant program is symbolic of how responsive our colleges and universities are when meeting critical workforce needs in Minnesota," said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State. "I am very grateful for the hard work of our faculty, our staff, and our students. We deeply appreciate the leadership of Commissioner Olson and our partnership with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education that made the success of this program possible."
Available courses can be found on our website at www.ohe.state.mn.us/CNATraining. Those interested in enrolling in the free training are encouraged to check back often as new courses will continue to be added as they are made available. Courses will be offered throughout the state, in-person and hybrid, on Minnesota State campuses and at many private training providers. The new funding will allow the Next Generation Nursing Assistant initiative to run until February 2023.