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IRC supports new Americans to enter healthcare workforce

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Last summer, the IRC in Atlanta launched a new English for Nursing Assistants program with the goal of supporting adult students with high quality English language instruction so that they can be successful in a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training and begin working in the healthcare field.

“In partnership with the Technical College System of Georgia, the IRC in Atlanta offers English language classes that integrate information about expectations of the American workplace, employment skills, and career pathways,” said IRC’s Adult Education Supervisor, Christopher Carpenter. “The English for Nursing Assistants program follows a national integrated education and training model, that provides adult education concurrently and contextually with workforce preparation for a specific occupation and credential.”

The first cohort for this new 12-week program was small, with just three students. As the program wrapped-up in September 2019, two of the students passed the complete CNA test and one of the students passed the skills portion of the test and will retake the written test in the spring. We are very excited for their future job prospects!

Student Elham puts on latex medical gloves as she stands beside her CNA instructor. She is wearing a headscarf and medical scrubs.
Elham passed the complete CNA test in October 2019 and is now a Certified Nursing Assistant.

English for Nursing Assistants participant, Elham, first came to the U.S. in 2016 from Ethiopia where she was close to completing Nursing school. For the past few years she has been focusing on raising her daughter who recently turned three. "I decided to participate in English for Nursing Assistants program because I am interested in medical field and I want to [pursue] Nursing school,” Elham shared. “It helps me as a bridge to do that and also it helps me to improve my English or my communication skills.” Elham’s daughter was able to participate in the IRC’s on-site Child Care program while her mother studied each week. “I recommend this class because it helps you stay focused on your goal. They help you make more money and they help you get a better job. It can even help you prepare if you go to nursing school or continue your studies.” When asked what motivated to join the healthcare workforce, Elham said, "I want to work in the medical field because I love helping people, especially the elderly."

Class participants work with the CNA instructor to check each others blood pressure.
The IRC's first cohort of English for Nursing Assistants students was small but mighty!

“The reason we focus on allied health is because it clear from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the labor market does not currently support the explosive demand for caretakers,” said IRC’s Career Development Coordinator, Lauren Bowden. “Our clients are well suited to fill that gap. Many come from cultures where providing daily living assistance for the elderly is an expected part of life.”

The second cohort of English for Nursing Assistants will begin in early spring 2020 and we look forward to updating you on the progress of Elham and our other dedicated and hard-working students. For more information on the program check out this blog post or contact Christopher Carpenter at Christopher.Carpenter [at] Rescue.org.

English for Nursing Assistants Info Session - Tuesday, February 25, 10am at the IRC in Atlanta office

To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8941.

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