As part of the National Nurses Week in 2023, State Representative Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City) is highlighting the Certified Nursing Assistant (C.N.A.) dual credit program offered at local high schools in partnership with Kaskaskia Community College. The dual credit program for Certified Nursing Assistants allows high school students to obtain free college credit, qualifies them to take the CNA test, and they are employable as a C.N.A. right out of high school.
“Not every student needs to go to a four-year university for their career choice. We have community colleges that offer associate degrees and certificate programs for many if not most students looking for skills or a trade to enter the workforce upon graduation which includes nursing programs,” said Rep. Wilhour. “The C.N.A. dual credit program through our high schools is an excellent opportunity for young people looking for a career in the healthcare profession.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health sets the rules and regulations for the program administered through the local high school or vocational center and the dual credit agreement is established between the college and the high school. The program at Salem Community High School started with eight students in its first year and the program continues to grow with the growth in the demand for good healthcare professionals. It just finished its ninth year with eighteen students from Salem and two from South Central High School which is in a co-op partnership with Salem.
“Every day we should say thank you to the nurses for all that they do to keep us safe, strong, and healthy through some of our most difficult moments. And we should remember to say thank you to the nurse’s assistants who back them up every day in the care for our loved ones in hospitals and nursing facilities,” added Blaine Wilhour.
The C.N.A. program provides hands-on experience in nursing with 80 hours of classroom instruction and 40 hours in the community. The community experiences can include working at nursing home facilities, the Salem Township Hospital, and observations at therapy centers, hospital labs where they draw blood, and even observing outpatient surgeries.
Currently, there are C.N.A. programs for students of Centralia, Odin, Patoka, Ramsey, Salem, Sandoval, Brownstown, and at the Okaw Vocational Center for students at Vandalia High School.
If you would like to know more about the dual credit program or others offered through Kaskaskia College, please contact Kelsey Tate the Coordinator of the Dual Credit Programs at Kaskaskia College at 618-545-3174.