Wanting to provide certified nursing aid (CNA) certification courses and quality, hands-on training for aspiring CNA’s in San Angelo, Baptist Retirement Community (BRC), a continuing care retirement community in the Concho Valley, is partnering with Workforce Solutions to provide these educational opportunities three to four times a year. The pass-rate for these classes is exceptional, as every student has graduated. In recognition of the community’s efforts, BRC was nominated for the “Local Employer Service Award” and for “Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) 2019 Small Employer of the Year.” Mary Jackson, director of human resources for Baptist Retirement Community, has facilitated the relationship throughout her career of more than two decades. “Providing these classes allows us to offer quality training to those interested in pursuing careers in the medical field, and many of our students use this as a stepping-stone to get into nursing programs,” said Jackson. “The classes also allow us the opportunity to let students know of open positions within our organization, and we hire approximately one-third of the students that go through each class. Even if they choose to work someplace else after receiving their certification, we hope that they might be inclined to join our team in the future. Through the clinicals and learning environment, we enjoy showing students how positive and supportive the work environment and team at Baptist Retirement Community is.” The second course wrapped up in June, and the third course began on August 5. The courses are three weeks long and cover classroom and lab skills from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the first two weeks, followed by clinicals in the third week. Clinicals consist of three 12-hour days of hands-on experience shadowing CNA’s and serving residents in different capacities. The program is made possible by the Texas Talent Connection Grant. Baptist Retirement Community contributes by providing the space and instructor(s) for the course. Workforce Solutions has a team member who is dedicated to recruiting students before the courses start. One of the community’s recent new hires, Kevin Lord, learned of the opportunity through Workforce Solutions, completed his training in June and started his first day at BRC on July 1. “My family has served in the medical field for a long time, and I was ready to try it out after working in the mechanic field for 10 years,” said Lord. “I was not sure where I was going to apply after getting my certification, but I ultimately fell in love with the work environment and residents at Baptist Retirement Community. The team at BRC is supportive and friendly. Everyone loves their job and walks around with smiles on their faces. During my clinicals, I got to interact with residents and found that their personalities are amazing. The three I worked hands-on with are the main reason I chose to work at BRC. Seeing the compassion that the team had for these residents also made me want to be a part of the team. It is a unique work environment that I did not want to pass up. I knew I wanted to work alongside these health care professionals every day and be here for these residents. I value delivering care with the dignity and respect these residents deserve. I am grateful for the CNA certification course, because, without it, I would not have gotten my training and learned of what awaited me at Baptist Retirement Community.” “All of the students are very appreciative and feel the course adequately prepares them for their new role as a CNA,” said Jackson. “We have done several projects with Workforce Solutions over the years, and we greatly appreciate the partnership. Overall, working with Workforce Solutions is positive and supportive. We bounce ideas back and forth to come up with amazing opportunities that enhance people’s lives. Our goals are to provide quality training that helps people gain experience and get back into the workforce. We are both willing to try new things, and it is very rewarding to do so.” Baptist Retirement Community also offers a summer internship program where they take in four students and teach them skills pertaining to maintenance, housekeeping, life enrichment activities for residents and clerical/admin. The senior living community also offers positions to people who need to gain experience in a certain area or have been out of the workforce for a while. If you are interested in covering this story or setting up an interview, please contact Lauren Witt via phone at 214-378-7970 ext. 306 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org“.