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From Caregiver to CNA

Veronica Mendoza’s role as a nurse assistant apprentice is new for her, but she is no stranger to the healthcare field. Her journey began nine years ago when she became the caregiver for her aging father. After he passed away, Veronica continued in her role as an In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provider for other people who needed care. 

“I felt that I could help others,” she said. 

Recently, she decided to take another step in her career path when she enrolled in CCA’s Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Registered Apprenticeship Program. Her goal is to become a CNA and eventually a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). Currently, she’s a nurse aide at Paramount Convalescent Hospital (Sun Mar Healthcare). Once she gets her state certification, she will be promoted to CNA at Paramount Convalescent with a guaranteed wage increase.

The CNA Registered Apprenticeship Program is a free training program* that is designed to create a pathway for existing SNF workers who are interested in a nursing career. The program helps to provide a solution to the staffing crisis in the nursing home industry by placing highly trained CNAs in skilled nursing facilities who are well-versed in the facilities’ procedures and practices.

On a personal level, Veronica said that she is participating in the program “to better myself, to learn more, and to advance in my career.” But the biggest motivation is her passion for helping others and as a CNA at a skilled nursing facility, she will be able to provide direct care to more people.

Veronica first found out about CCA’s apprenticeship program through SEIU Local 2015. She encouraged her daughter to enroll as well. They both agree that they have received great support from the Education Fund staff and their instructors throughout the program. “They’re always there for support. If I have any questions, I could be free to go and ask them anything,” Veronica said.

The Education Fund’s apprenticeship program provides robust support services to all participants and to the facilities where the apprentices are getting on-the-job training as nurse aides. A key factor to the participants’ success is the mentoring they receive while they’re in training and during their first months as CNAs after they pass their state exam. 

“To me the training is motivating me to continue my healthcare career and I would say yes, 100%, it’s worth it,” she said. 

* subject to eligibility requirements

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