3,000 International Institute of Minnesota nursing assistant students certified

3,000 International Institute of Minnesota nursing assistant students certified

3,000 International Institute of Minnesota nursing assistant students certified

The International Institute of Minnesota marked a major milestone earlier this month. At least 3,000 of its nursing assistant students have now been certified.

“It’s very, very exciting,” said Executive Director Jane Graupman. “It’s hard to believe.”

The Institute offers free seven-week and 11-week training programs. Placement is based on an English reading assessment.

New graduate Moe participated in the seven-week program. He worked in a long-term care facility for a year prior to taking the training.

“I want to improve my skills in both clinic and knowledge,” said Moe. “Here in the U.S. there is a huge demand for CNAs.”

He arrived in the United States as a refugee in 2021.

“I fled from Burma,” said Moe, who asked that we do not publish his last name due to ongoing safety concerns. “I had to flee the country.”

The journalist’s decision to turn to a new career in this country was personal, he explained. His mother died of COVID two weeks before he flew to the U.S.

“I couldn’t believe she passed,” he said. “We literally just talked like three or four hours ago and then in the morning she passed, I thought ‘How could that be possible?’”

His new career allows him to care for others who are ill or aging.

“When I decided to shift my focus, I thought the health sector could be a good subject for me,” said Moe.

The International Institute of Minnesota’s certified nursing assistant program launched in 1990 after it saw immigrants and refugees from medical backgrounds struggle with the nursing assistant course needed to continue their career here, according to Graupman.

“We figured out they had the technical skills but they needed help learning English and some of the English technical words in healthcare and then also what does American workplace and Minnesota workplace expect of you?” she explained. “For new Americans, we really want to make sure we’re opening all the doors for them to the highest paying job they can get within healthcare.”

The program has grown through the years. It works with about 100 employers around the state and graduates more than 100 students each year.

About 90% of the graduates are successfully placed into jobs.

“And at one year, 90% of people placed in jobs are still working as nursing assistants,” said Graupman.

It can also be a stepping stone in a healthcare career. Moe hopes to become a nurse.

“Before I came here to the International Institute of Minnesota, I felt ‘I’m lost’,” he said.

He passed the state test required to be a nursing student this month.

“I was able to pass the state exam, it was great,” said Moe. “I was really grateful for that.”