New Downtown Learning Lab to Address Need for Certified Nursing Assistants

West Michigan Works! Logo

West Michigan Works!, in partnership with Muskegon Community College, is opening a Certified Nurse Assistant Learning Lab on the main floor of its service center located at 316 Morris Ave. in downtown Muskegon.

The facility will accommodate 20 students per session who will be taking the 135-hour curriculum developed by MCC and based on the Michigan model.

A grand opening of the facility will be held on Tuesday, July 11, at 5:15 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

“This is a rigorous program,” said Chris Patterson, director of Health Program Development at the college. “The program not only delivers the knowledge and technical skills needed to be a certified nursing assistant (CNA), but it includes soft skills training.  Employers say that they really like our graduates. They’re employment-ready.”

In response to the critical need for talent in the health care industry, the West Michigan region has been looking at creative ways to train a qualified workforce.  The recent partnership between West Michigan Works! and MCC will pool existing assets to create opportunities for more individuals to train and receive state certification as nursing assistants (CNAs).

West Michigan Works! approached MCC in Fall 2016 with an idea that would expand the capacity of the college to train nurse aides. Michigan Works! would convert extra space in its Muskegon service center into a learning lab and recruit participants from its workforce programs. In turn, MCC would use the lab for the classroom and lab portions of its existing CNA program.

“Employers are looking for creative ways to fill high-demand jobs. We want to use our resources— whether it’s physical space, funding or access to talent—to provide innovative solutions,” said Michigan Works! Regional Service Center Manager Brittany Lenertz.

With the capacity to train more CNAs in the learning lab, Patterson is hoping that more employers will come forward to provide the clinical experience.