Member of long-term care workforce shaking hands during recruiting job interview.

The California Workforce Development Board has granted $14 million to the Center for Caregiver Advancement to launch a statewide certified nurse assistant registered apprenticeship program and to pilot a licensed vocational nurse apprenticeship program. The program is available to unionized skilled nursing facilities that are in the Education Fund, a training fund for members of SEIU Local 2015.

The idea behind the earn-and-learn apprenticeship program is to alleviate labor challenges in an already stressed industry. The grant is part of California’s High Road Training Partnerships Resilient Workforce Fund Initiative. CCA will train 500 people to become CNAs and 12 CNAs to become LVNs by the end of the three-year funding period. The program will provide career growth for incumbent nursing home workers and other community members. 

“This is a true collaboration between labor and management. The industry-specific, targeted approach of CCA’s apprenticeship program will create upward mobility for our members and help ease the strain on our burdened long-term care system,” said Arnulfo de la Cruz, executive vice president of SEIU Local 2015 and a member of CCA’s Board of Trustees.

The training is free to eligible participants, with CCA covering the costs of tuition, books and other things related to certification. In addition, participants will receive help with the costs of childcare, groceries and transportation. CCA also will reimburse participating facilities for the wages of the participants who earn CNA certification during their first four weeks of employment.

Participants will work as nursing aides at participating facilities while they are in the program. They also will receive mentorship support from an experienced CNA or LVN who will help them acclimate to their new roles. Participants are guaranteed a wage increase upon obtaining their state certification and being promoted to CNAs.

“Through on-the-job training and mentorship, the participants quickly learn their facilities’ policies, procedures and expectations, which help create a seamless transition into their new roles as critical members of our team,” said John Bowen, vice president of operations at Anaheim-based Sun Mar Healthcare and a member of CCA Board of Trustees.