WATERVILLE — Seven local area residents graduated as certified nursing assistants May 8 from Mount Saint Joseph Residence and Rehabilitation facility in Waterville. The event celebrated the completion of the collaborative partnerships among Western Maine Community Action, Lewiston/Skowhegan CareerCenters, and Regional School Unit 54 Community & Adult Education, according to a news release from WMCA.

The CNA graduates are Bernadette DiOrio, Paula Bratton, Melanie Sally, Amanda James, Michelle Moody, Vicki French and Dawn Moreshead.

The course, valued more than $5,000 per participant, was no cost for income eligible candidates with funding provided by WMCA. Candidates successfully completed 90 classroom hours; 90 hours of clinicals and labs; 30 hours of academic and employability skills training; in addition to hands-on training at Mt. St. Joseph. An On-the-Job Training Program for 256 was also provided through grant funding supported Western Maine Community Action CareerCenter Services. The combined curriculum and job training empowers students with the skills and knowledge essential to the specific job field.

“This graduation class is not only the result of the students’ dedication, but also the best model of train to work where business, education, and workforce development collaborate,” said Patti Saarinen, WIOA Program coordinator, WMCA – Central/Western Maine CareerCenters. “OJT is an incentive based program providing 50% of a trainee’s wages during the duration of the program. Students are empowered with the skills and knowledge essential to the specific job field.” The integration of education and training is a best-practice model for success.

“Thanks to this partnership program, the students were better prepared, more motivated and committed as they knew what the program would be, and what the job would entail,” shares Diane Sinclair, MSJ administrator.

For more information about work-driven/educational partnerships, call 753-9032 or visit wmca.org or like them on Facebook.

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