WEST DES MOINES, Iowa– Over the last few months, Governor Kim Reynolds has awarded over $6 million in grants to local businesses to support job recruitment and training.
After receiving both the Employer Innovation grant and Earn and Learn grant, The Lakeside Village assisted living facility in Panora along with HealthTech Associates in West Des Moines have been able to put 200 Iowans through CNA and advanced CNA training.
The Lakeside Village said it’s been a goal of theirs to build up the workforce for the healthcare industry in Iowa for the last couple of years. However, 2020 presented monumental challenges with gaining and maintaining employees.
“Between your staff members being out having COVID, or not being willing to enter the workforce because of risk of being a frontline worker and getting COVID, we were to the point where we were getting zero applications. We hadn’t had applications in three months and that is scary,” Community Director for The Lakeside Village, Amanda Creen said.
CEO of HealthTech Associates, Tanya Comer, said as a registered nurse working in the field, she’s seen first hand how short-staffed long term care facilities have been during this pandemic.
“When I go in there, most of the staff is agency staff that aren’t even employees of the building because that’s all we can find to work those shifts,” Comer said. “Even with the agency help we’re still working short-staffed in every single facility in the metro. So putting 200 CNAs in the job market is going to make a significant impact.”
HealthTech Associates have received $75,000 from Future Ready Iowa Earn and Learn grant, to continue their work in providing quality healthcare training.
The Lakeside Village facility has received $150,000 from the Future Ready Iowa Earn and Learn grant and over $96,000 from the Employer Innovation grant.
Along with being able to provide CNA and advanced CNA training, the assisted living facility has also been able to work with 25 ServSafe applicants and help Iowans gain other certifications to become substitute teachers, nurse practitioners and assisted living managers.
With the Earn and Learn grant, The Lakeside Village also has plans on improving their educational spaces with new projectors and other equipment, to offer more skill-building courses to staff.
Creen said they appreciate these grants being offered to private businesses because it allows them to push the healthcare field forward faster.
“When that money is given to the employers to innovate and to make changes for their staff and where their community is, it benefits us faster. And as we learned during this pandemic how fast we move is the most important thing right now,” Creen said.