BOLI Press Release

Groundbreaking certified nursing assistant program named Oregon’s first registered, competency-based healthcare apprenticeship.

Long-Term CareWorks’ new CNA Apprenticeship, the first certified nursing apprenticeship program in Oregon, was approved last week by the Oregon State Apprenticeship and Training Council. Developed through a labor-management partnership between SEIU 503, Oregon’s largest care provider union, and five care facility managers—Avalon, Avamere, Dakavia, EmpRes, and Prestige Care–the registered state apprenticeship will address staffing needs in long-term care facilities that have struggled to retain qualified workers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This apprenticeship program will give workers access to paid on-the-job training to build their skills and earning potential, while also giving long-term care providers a high-quality pool of job applicants,” says Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle.

“In my 10 years working at nursing homes, I have seen the toll that turnover and vacancies have on our seniors and people with disabilities,” says Ron Strle, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in Hood River. “I’m excited that the nursing homes are working with our union to address this issue by investing in an apprenticeship program. By supporting staff we can attract and retain more people, and that’s a great step forward for long-term care.”

Long-Term CareWorks’ CNA Apprenticeship will provide certified classroom instruction and paid on-the-job training. Administered by RISE Partnership, it will operate with a competency-based model, using mentorship and small cohorts of 10 apprentices to provide training that exceeds industry standards. After completing the yearlong program, each apprentice will have mastered the skills needed to be a qualified nursing assistant.

Additional wraparound services will be available to support participants through childcare and transportation assistance, stipends for supplies, and housing.

Patsy Richards, the Director of Long-Term CareWorks, says that the program has already paid dividends for the inaugural cohort. “Every time I talk with the apprentices in our program, I see our life-changing potential for both long-term care consumers and the workers who support them. In the next few months, Long-Term CareWorks’ CNA Apprenticeship will touch hundreds of lives throughout the state.”

For more information about the CNA Apprenticeship, please visit longtermcareworks.org/.

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