Wisconsin DHS slates $6 million to expand training, ease CNA shortage in nursing homes

Wiscaregiver Careers

MADISON (WKBT) — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is investing $6 million to expand the WisCaregiver Careers workforce development program to expand training for certified nursing assistants.

The Wisconsin Health Care Association and LeadingAge Wisconsin administer the program, which was launched to address the shortage of CNAs in the state’s nursing homes.

The additional funding will expand the public-private partnership beginning this summer, according to a DHS news release.

“Across Wisconsin, a strong health-care and long-term care provider workforce is essential to the health of our entire state,” Gov. Tony Evers said in announcing the expansion.

“With an aging population, Wisconsin has been facing a health-care workforce shortage for years — a challenge the COVID-19 pandemic only further underscored,” the governor said.

The expansion “will support a real solution to the state’s healthcare staffing needs that will benefit our entire state well beyond this pandemic,” Evers said.

Launched in 2018, WisCaregiver Careers has engaged more than 300 of Wisconsin’s 385 nursing homes in efforts to expand the health-care workforce. A current version of the program, funded through a $400,000 Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Fast Forward grant, is on track to exceed its goal of training 500 new CNAs for employment before ending in June.

The $6 million investment, through the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Nursing Home & Long-term Care Facility Strike Team program, will expand the current program to include recruiting qualified employers to host as many as 3,000 new CNA training slots.

The money will support employee recruitment and success through retention bonuses, employer reimbursement and success bonuses, and mentorships.

More than 181 employers have registered to participate in the program, with additional employers signing on. Long-term care facilities and nursing homes can contact program officials for more information on the WisCaregiver Careers website.

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