Minnesota to train, deploy 1,000 new certified nursing assistants for long-term care

Minnesota is launching a new initiative to recruit, train and deploy at least 1,000 new certified nursing assistants for long-term care facilities.

Gov. Tim Walz’s office announced the plan Monday, saying the nursing assistants will be deployed to facilities experiencing staffing shortages by the end of next month.

The effort is a partnership between the state, colleges and long-term care providers, according to Walz’s office, and will replicate a program currently used by 16 Minnesota State colleges that are training about 400 Minnesota National Guard members for deployment as emergency temporary nursing assistants.

The cost of expenses for the certified nursing assistant courses — including tuition, fees and materials — will be paid for with $3.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding, Walz’s office said, ensuring there isn’t any cost for the students.

"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 in a statement. "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."