Congratulations, nursing assistant graduates!

The International Institute of Minnesota, which provides education and training for New Americans, celebrates new graduates from its Nursing Assistant Training Program every quarter. With a blend of English Language Learner (ELL) support, content review and instruction, the course prepares students for careers in long-term care.

Before taking the state exam, nursing assistant students must demonstrate all 57 required skills for their instructor. Students in the Nursing Assistant Training Program consistently test above the state average on the state exam, with 98% of all graduates earning state certification.

After students pass the test, employment counselors work with them one-on-one. “There’s an overwhelming feeling of gratitude [among students] that they’ve been able to find jobs in a field they like where there’s upward mobility,” says Michael Donahue, Associate Director of the International Institute of Minnesota. “I am inspired by their flexibility, ingenuity and commitment.”


Graduates of the International Institute of Minnesota’s Nursing Assistant Training Program and their instructors.

The International Institute (in partnership with Saint Paul College, Neighborhood House, and the Hubbs Center) also offers the College Readiness Academy for New American students who want to advance their education to become Registered Nurses (RNs) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). Students receive instruction in subjects such as reading, grammar, writing and math to prepare them for success in college. Mentors, called College Navigators, then assist students with things like registering for classes, applying for financial aid and balancing life, work and studies. Since the year 2000, 460 New Americans have become RNs, LPNs and other medical professionals with the help of the Medical Career Advancement Program at the Institute.

Five years ago, the International Institute began inviting alumni of the Nursing Assistant Training Program to visit the nursing assistant classes. Donahue says it’s a wonderful interaction to see. “They are able to tell our nursing assistant students, ‘Ten years ago, I was exactly where you are now, and now I’m one semester away from being a nurse.’ We just sit back and let it happen.”

To learn more about the International Institute of Minnesota, visit their website.

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