Originally published in the Katahdin Region News
By Shelley Farrington
KATAHDIN REGION – The COVID-19 pandemic has caused much loss and created great hardships for families and businesses. However, out of tremendous loss has grown opportunities.
Katahdin Higher Education Center Director Deb Rountree announced a great opportunity being afforded area residents who are interested in a new job, a change in job or just something different with a free certified nursing assistant course. The course is through Eastern Maine Community College and is being paid for with money from the Maine Quality Centers (MQC) and the Maine Community College System (MCCS).
Rountree said the only requirements for applying for the program is the applicant must be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED and be able to legally work in the United States. The grant for the program, worth about $1,800 according to Rountree, pays for the student’s background check, their uniforms and other necessary equipment as well as the class itself. Applicants must also have access to a computer with a camera and microphone as well as a reliable internet connection as classes will be online.
Rountree explained that students will attend online classes on Monday, Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays from 8:30 to 12:30 p.m. Required clinical hours, which are done in partnership with Millinocket Regional Hospital and Katahdin Health Care, will be done when both healthcare facilities open back up.
When students successfully complete the course – 90 hours classroom, 70 hours clinical and 20 hours lab – will be eligible to take the State Board Examination, which students can take right at KHEC, and receive the State of Maine Certification for Basic Nursing Assistant.
Rountree said the grant program, one of many that are being offered at community college centers across the state, is set up to help address the changing demands of the job market and the ongoing needs for medical personnel to help with the COVID-19 pandemic.