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Local programs prepare workers for health care jobs

By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
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While many sectors of the economy are languishing, the health care industry is booming. And job seekers are clamoring to get onboard. The Auburn area is responding to this demand, with several training opportunities for entry-level positions. The newest program, offered by the College of Medical Arts at Siena Care, is a six-week course to become a certified nursing assistant. “The California Department of Public Health approved ours as the first on-site skilled nursing facility training program,” said Pati Rader, spokeswoman for the College of Medical Arts. Placing the program in a nursing care facility rather than a classroom has several advantages, including training students in the type of environment where they’ll find future employment, she said. It also gives students an early indication if the job is right for them. “It’s a job not everyone wants to do,” Rader said. Since February, two classes — each with 14 students — have completed the course. Another class is starting in July. “Most of the students have jobs lined up before they graduate,” Rader said. In fact, some students have been able to get help with tuition costs from a future employer, she said. Although most of the students will go on to work in long-term nursing care facilities, that is not the only option. “You can go anywhere that hires CNAs,” Rader said. “We had one student who went to work for Shriners Hospital in Sacramento.” The program is attracting applicants ranging from recent high school graduates to grandmothers, she said. Requirements include speaking English well and passing an entrance exam covering basic math and reading skills. Cost for the course is $1,875. Classroom instruction covers basic patient care — anything done under the leadership of nursing staff — bathing, feeding, dressing, blood pressure, walking and assisting with daily living activities. The main focus is preparing students for the California Certified Nursing Assistant test, Rader said. Graduates of the CNA program can also take a supplemental 16-hour restorative nursing assistant course, which costs $250. For those seeking more in-depth training, Placer School for Adults’ clinical medical assistant program has been extremely popular, Principal Judy McCoy said Monday. Cost for the fall 20-week course is $2,420 including tuition and course materials. It includes 135 classroom hours and a 160-hour externship in a medical facility. “This is the first time we’ve offered it,” McCoy said about the spring class. “We know there is a tremendous demand for this type of training. (The first class) was filled. We’re starting another one in mid-September.” The training, offered through Boston Reed College, covers caring for patients, doing lab tests and learning how to give medications. Sierra College and Roseville Adult Education also offer the program. At 49er ROP in Auburn, spokeswoman Jessica Hardtke said that its health care courses fill quickly. There’s a health career class geared for high school students. The medical and dental assistant courses, which run on a two-semester basis from September to June, are filled for this year. “After a few weeks of classroom work, students go to a training site four days a week and have class one day a week,” Hardtke said. Registration for adults is $75 plus materials fee, vaccinations and tools. “Usually the day that pre-enrollment opens, that class is filled,” she said. The 49er ROP program is part of the Placer County Office of Education. The Journal’s Gloria Young can be reached at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com ---------- •College of Medical Arts open house 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, at Siena Care, 11600 Education St., Auburn For more information, see cmaschool.org or call (866) 623-1183 •Placer School for Adults, 390 Finley St., Auburn; phone (530) 885-8585 Web site puhsd.k12.ca.us/adult •49er ROP, 360 Nevada St., Auburn; phone: (530) 889-5949; Web site 49errop.com