Tim Walz headshot
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D)

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) and state health officials announced a program to boost the long-term care workforce through a partnership among the colleges in the Minnesota state system, long-term providers and the state.

The plan is to recruit, train, and deploy at least 1,000 new certified nursing assistants for Minnesota long-term care facilities experiencing staffing shortages by the end of January, according to the governor’s press release

Once trained, the CNAs will be eligible for employment at Minnesota’s long-term care facilities facing severe staffing shortages. Sixteen colleges within the Minnesota state system are currently training approximately 400 members of the National Guard for deployment as emergency temporary nursing assistants in those facilities, this new training program will replicate that model.

“Our long-term care facilities are relying on a new generation of certified nursing assistants to provide quality care to their patients. By working with communities, colleges, and care providers around Minnesota, we will recruit and train these new CNAs and ensure we have the staff we need in long-term care,” Walz said. 

“Our goal is to train 1,000 CNAs in two months to bolster staffing and provide necessary care to Minnesota patients during our COVID-19 response. But not only that: through this training program we can help maintain a stable long-term care workforce for years to come,” he added.

The governor plans to use $3.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding to pay for the CNA program, pending approval from the Legislative COVID-19 Response Commission.

According to data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, nursing assistants are the sixth highest in-demand job in the state, spurred on by the pandemic. There are not enough students pursuing a CNA credential to meet the demand without this intervention, according to the governor.

“We look forward to working collaboratively with state agencies to address one of our critical workforce concerns: lack of certified nursing assistants to fill our thousands of vacant positions,” said Patti Cullen, president and CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota.