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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Colfax High School students pursuing a Certified Nursing Assistant degree at Chippewa Valley Technical College can now complete their clinical coursework at the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center.
William C. Yingst Jr., school district administrator, reported on the partnership with CHRC at the Colfax Board of Education’s December 17 meeting.
According to an information sheet distributed to school board members from John Dachel, Colfax High School principal, the 120 hour course is a combination of classroom lecture, lab experience and clinical practice.
Dachel was unable to attend the school board meeting, held at 6 p.m. rather than 7 p.m., because of the Colfax girls’ basketball game that night in Colfax against Melrose-Mindoro.
The CNA course is being offered through the Start College Now program at CVTC and is similar to the Youth Options program that was previously offered to high school students.
The three-credit technical diploma has an estimated cost of $568 that includes textbooks.
Previously, Colfax High School students could complete the course through CVTC, Dove Healthcare Bloomer or Dove Healthcare Eau Claire.
The Colfax Messenger contacted Jill Gengler, administrator at Colfax Health and Rehab, for some additional comments.
“We have worked with CVTC as a clinical site for the past few years and will continue to do so,” Gengler said.
“There is a state grant for students under the Wisconsin Caregiver Career Project in which the training is paid for. Otherwise, we reimburse newly trained CNAs for their training if they remain employed with us for a year, half after six months,” Gengler said.
Colfax typically has three to five students who have completed the CNA course through CVTC, Bloomer Dove Care or Eau Claire Dove Care, according to the information sheet Dachel provided for the Board of Education.
In the past, the cost for the CNA course was paid by students and was sometimes reimbursed by a nursing home or hospital facility, Dachel wrote.
“We are very fortunate that the Colfax nursing home is one of the facilities that will reimburse the student for the cost of the course if they work in their facility,” he wrote.
Dachel expressed his appreciation to Colfax Health and Rehab for offering the opportunity to Colfax High school students to complete their CNA coursework in Colfax.
“It’s a win-win for everybody,” Yingst said.
Because of the low unemployment rate in Wisconsin and because Wisconsin has the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rate in the United States, long-term care facilities have struggled for a number of years to find and retain CNAs to care for residents.