Posted at: 03/29/2013 5:09 PM
Updated at: 03/29/2013 6:15 PM
By: Travis Dill
A new education opportunity in Two Harbors prepared students for a career in six weeks.
The certified nursing assistant program gave students a chance otherwise impossible for some. The extension program from Mesabi Range Technical College brought the classroom to Two Harbors.
The CNA students were finishing hands-on experience on Friday at Ecumen Assisted Living.
Erica Cooley said the experience with residents prepares her for a new career.
“Sometimes the resident might change their mind. And it's just a matter of listening to what they have to say, what they want, and then going with that,” Cooley said.
Students also had a classroom at Lakeview Hospital in Two Harbors, and those partnerships allowed them to train locally.
Student Megan Gregor said traveling for the education would be impossible for her as a mother.
“It's the time with finding daycare, paying for daycare and then the additional cost of driving all the way to Duluth,” Gregor said.
And she said the program is a rare opportunity in Two Harbors.
“It's very difficult to find living wages in this area. There really isn't any other industry or options,” Gregor said.
And jobs are available right where the students are training according to Ecumen's Director of Nursing Bethany Delvas.
“It's nice to have local people partake in the program and then also come here if they're interested, and it sounds like some of the CNAs are interested,” Delvas said.
She started out as a nursing assistant and said it opens the door to more careers.
“So it's an important base to have no matter where you go into healthcare,” Delvas said.
The students are scheduled to take a certification test next week, and instructors said there is demand for more classes next fall.
Two Harbors High School was another partner that helped create the program, and officials hope future courses can be open to high school students as well.