In a partnership intended to address several pressing regional needs, Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) and the Beloit Health & Rehabilitation Center (BHR) have teamed to provide full scholarships for eight BTC students in the Nursing Assistant Program.
The goal is to ease the financial burden of the students who are studying for a pathway into a health field that is undermanned in the BTC district of Rock and Green counties, as well as in northern Illinois and rest of the state of Wisconsin.
“Blackhawk Technical College is committed to providing a quality education to the future employees in our district while letting our area employers know that BTC will remain a vital workforce source for them,’’ said Elizabeth Horvath, BTC’s Director of Advancement and Community Relations.
“This partnership illustrates just how a public facility like BTC can join forces with a private business to better the lives of our students, our area businesses and most important, those patients served by the Beloit Health & Rehabilitation Center.’’
Beloit Health & Rehabilitation Center, 1905 E. West Hart Rd., is a leading provider of long-term skilled nursing care and short-term rehabilitation solutions in Rock and Green counties in Wisconsin, and Winnebago and Boone counties in Illinois. It features a 152-bed center that offers a full continuum of services and care focused around each individual in today's ever-changing health care environment.
One aspect of the changing health care field is a short supply of qualified workers to deal with an increasing patient population. Last fall, BHR held career fairs in Beloit and Monroe in an effort to attract students investigating a position as a Certified Nursing Assistant. In conjunction, BHR and BTC worked out this scholarship program that will benefit students looking to enter the field and add to the number of qualified workers in the field.
Six of the scholarship recipients are from Beloit and two are from Janesville. They are: Brandi Hoppe (Janesville), Kimberly Lawrence (Janesville), Shana Edwards (Beloit), Raven Napoleon (Beloit), Latrice Pritchard (Beloit), Felicia Smith (Beloit), Cheri Votaw (Beloit) and DeaLeSha Perry (Beloit).
“This partnership benefits our community by providing students with hands on experience, full time employment and benefits with an opportunity to build a meaningful and sustainable career in long term care. Our goal is that these students will continue onto an LPN, RN and potentially management positions with assistance of tuition reimbursement,’’ said Traci Scherck, Director of Workforce Management.
“Beloit Health and Rehabilitation Center is proud to partner with Blackhawk Technical College and SWWWDB to create the start of a promising career in long term care for community members dedicated to serving individuals in our community that are aging or recovering from a major surgery with the need of rehabilitative care,” said Debbie Pitsch, Executive Director, BHR.
“Being offered the CNA scholarship has been such a blessing. First of all, It feels amazing to know they believe in me that much. Secondly, it improves my daughter’s and my life. I am no longer searching for and working at dead-end jobs; I have finally found my career! Thankyou Beloit Health and Rehab Center,” said Kimberly Lawrence, a BTC student and scholarship recipient.
Gail Graham, the business and employee services coordinator for the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, said the partnership is an example of how public and private enterprises can join forces to better area job opportunities and provide critical customer services.
“Addressing the labor force needs of a particular industry or community requires solutions at the local level, and the most successful partnerships are born in times of need. This assertive move by Blackhawk Technical College and Beloit Health & Rehabilitation is a true example of collaboration at its best, and creates a template for future endeavors,” said Rhonda Suda, CEO Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board.
Nursing Assistants are vital members of the health care team that help care for patients under the supervision of a professional registered nurse in a variety of settings. BTC’s Nursing Assistant program is a pathway to other health-related programs. The program is accredited by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Bureau of Quality Assurance.
After completing entrance requirements, a criminal background check and clinical requirements, nursing assistant students undergo 120 hours of courses that include classroom lectures, campus lab experiences and a clinical practicum.
Students must be at least 16 years old to attend clinical practicum. Students under 18 are selected as a Youth Apprentice through their high school.
Those who successfully complete this course are eligible to take the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam to become part of the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry as a certified nursing assistant/home health assistant.
Beloit Health and Rehabilitation is offering another eight scholarships for students to begin coursework in March. Interested applicants should contact Beloit Health and Rehabilitation Center at (608) 365-2555.