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Colorado Board of Nursing Approved Program to Offer Free Training and Certification for Nursing Assistants

NextStep, a growing company that helps displaced workers retrain for in-demand healthcare jobs, today announced that it has approval from the Colorado Board of Nursing to provide free, online training and job placement for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) students, who have been displaced from school as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. All students enrolled in any in-person Colorado CNA training program charging tuition are eligible to transfer to the no-cost NextStep program immediately.

Over the past two months since in-person education has largely shut down, more than 3,000 students in Colorado have enrolled in the NextStep CNA training course. The unique program, which is free to students and funded by employers who provide job placements, is designed to ensure continuity in the training and certification process at a time when many traditional CNA training programs are unavailable. The Nursing Board has approved virtual skills and clinical training with remote video review and feedback by accredited nurse experts employed by NextStep.

"We chose Colorado as our pilot state for our mobile-native nursing assistant training and job placement program because of the innovative approach to workforce training and career education that Colorado policymakers have clearly embraced," said NextStep CEO Chris Hedrick. "This administration's openness to new ways of addressing workforce development, combined with the strong desire of long-term care employers for more skilled nursing assistants, spurred us to invest in Colorado."

"I'm proud that Colorado is taking the lead in finding creative ways to ensure CNA students receive the education and training they need," said Colorado Governor Jared Polis. "Our health care workers on the front lines are a critical part of the state's response to this global pandemic. This no-cost program is a great option for students who are already enrolled in a program, but aren't able to continue their education in-person due to the pandemic."

NextStep's 140 skill courses, which were developed with the world's leading caregiving experts, are delivered on mobile devices in 10-15 minute modules and can be completed in as little as 6 weeks. Over the past several months since receiving initial Board of Nursing approval for its program, NextStep has enrolled over 3,000 Coloradans in its program.

"At a time when our healthcare system is under profound strain, certified nursing assistants play an especially critical role. This is about not only maintaining continuity, but creating a career path for workers that may be displaced from other fields --and well equipped to fill critical gaps in our health care infrastructure," said Laura Landwirth, President and CEO of LeadingAge Colorado. "We want to tap into the potential of those who have lost their jobs in fields like hospitality or retail who can play a new role on the frontlines of caring for patients most vulnerable to COVID-19 illness."

Workers not only receive training but also benefit from industry-recognized certification and job placement services with NextStep's Colorado employer partners, which include Good Samaritan Society-Loveland Village, Covenant Living of Colorado, Vivage Senior Living, and Life Care Centers of America. After graduating from the NextStep course, students are placed in jobs at long-term care, skilled nursing, and senior living facilities across the state. NextStep's curriculum is approved by the Colorado Board of Nursing and endorsed by LeadingAge, the industry association for senior living facilities and skilled nursing centers.

About NextStep: NextStep is a mobile-based training and placement innovator, aiming to radically expand the supply of qualified CNAs to address the nation's caregiver shortage crisis. Offerings include our state-approved, mobile-first CNA course featuring 140+ skills developed by leading experts and continuing education for CNAs. Students interested in NextStep should visit www.nextstep.careers.