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Hawkeye Community College hoping to fill the shortage in Certified Nursing Assistants

posted on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 in  College News

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Hawkeye Community College is looking to start the second year of their Certified Nursing Assistant apprenticeship, but the school needs people to sign up for it first. That is a challenge because of a shortage of CNA’s and healthcare workers in general. The college hopes the program will help recruit and retain workers.

Rosalinda Rodriguez is a full time CNA at Rosewood Estates at friendship village. Whether it’s doing their hair or looking at family photos, Rodriguez is creating a bond with her clients. [TAKE SOT

“We’ve become a family with the coworkers and residents,” she said. She’s grown closer to her clients during the pandemic when people are seeing their families. Helping others in various ways is why she got into healthcare and eventually wants to be a nurse.

“I just generally love helping people,” she said. “Like I can do any other thing but I think a nurse is something that we need.”


She is the first graduate of Hawkeye Community College’s new program to train CNA’s. It’s free for students who agree to work at one of two partner assisted living centers after graduating. It’s meant to help address a shortage of CNA’s. That’s partly because it’s a demanding job with low pay - averaging about 28-thousand a year.

“Because you are very close working with people,” said Brenda Helmuth, Health and Continuing Education Coordinator. “Day in day out you making the connections, not only on a personal level but you’re taking care of them. You’re helping them shower, helping them get dressed.”

That’s one reason Hawkeye Community College says it is struggling to fill its second class for the program. Leaders say the job is also very rewarding. They are advertising it as a stepping stone to becoming a nurse.

Rodriguez hopes people give it a shot. “They are needed and we really appreciate them,” she said. “And they will appreciate healthcare”

More information on the apprenticeship can be reached here.

By Phil Reed, KCRG-TV9 News


  1. Apprenticeship
  2. Business and Community Education
  3. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
  4. Friendship Village
  5. Rosewood Estate
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