Next Friday July 31, 13 individuals out of more than 100,000 Austin residents will graduate and have jobs to help decrease the nation’s growing unemployment rate through the Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program.

By the end of the year, up to 50 more of Austin’s unemployed could also receive training and job placement in the heath industry. The program was introduced in May by the Ministry Network Coalition Inc., in partnership with Health Restoration Academy of Medical Arts, located at the Austin YMCA, 501 N. Central. It is offered – free of charge – to disadvantaged, low income, public aid recipients, wards of the state, and the unemployed.

The nursing program is a mission of love, funded minimally by $1,000 in donations. Yancy Carothers, president and CEO of the Ministry Network, and Pamela Graham, founder of the Academy, personally contributed more than $5,000 to provide a 12-week training and placement program to 15 unemployed individuals from the Austin community.

Approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education, the nursing program includes 80 hours of theory content of basic patient care, and 40 hours of mandatory clinical component. Both disciplines provide the necessary skills to work in the health industry. Classroom training takes place at the Austin YMCA. Clinicals are provided through Loretto and Hines Veterans hospitals. A partnership has also been established with Janice Henry of the Black Nurses Association. This relationship offers resources for students to receive scholarships so they can continue their education and become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Registered Nurses (RNs). Currently, employment is provided in partnership with Elmwood Village Nursing Home, 7732 W. Grand, in Elmwood Village.

The Certified Nursing Assistant Program is looking for new individuals interested in becoming successful CNAs, and the need for funding has also gone unchanged. Mr. Carothers and Ms. Graham have submitted grant proposals so they can reach the goal of supporting 50 individuals this fall. If you would like to attend the program, or contribute donations, please contact Yancy Carothers or Pamela Graham at 773-454-2105/115 S. Austin Blvd., Suite 2, Chicago, IL. 60644.

Ciara Wimby
Austin YMCA’ s business relations manager