Saturday, September 24, 2022

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The health-care subsidy extension a relief for small businesses; Consumer groups press for a bill to reform credit reporting; and an international group aims to transform how people view peace and conflict.

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Condemnation of Russian war on Ukraine continues at the U.N, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says there's need for worker training to rebuild Puerto Rico, the House takes on record corporate profits while consumers struggle with inflation.

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The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts two winters across the U.S., the Inflation Reduction Act could level the playing field for rural electric co-ops, and pharmacies are dwindling in rural America.

Amid Shortages, MN Seeks to Train More Future Nurses

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Friday, August 19, 2022   

This fall, additional free classes will be offered in Minnesota for people thinking about a career as a certified nursing assistant. It follows an initial wave earlier this year to help address health-care worker shortages around the state.

The Next Generation Nursing Assistant initiative will start classes in September and October at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Keith Hovis, director of communications for the Office of Higher Education, said it isn't statewide like the program kickoff in January, but it's still important to help more people get their foot in the door.

"Over the course of the pandemic, there have been thousands and thousands of vacancies that haven't been able to be filled," he said. "So, this initiative, it's intended to help start filling those vacancies and make sure that we are supporting health of Minnesotans all around the state."

The program uses American Rescue Plan funding to cover the cost of tuition, books, uniforms and certification exam fees. The first group of participants exceeded the state's goal of 1,000. Hovis said if the Legislature agrees to renewed funding, they could resume the no-cost courses at locations statewide.

Earlier this week, thousands of Minnesota nurses voted to authorize a strike if contract talks don't improve. Hovis said while the program might not touch on some of the broader issues facing those workers, it's important to step up at a time when solutions are needed.

"We see this initiative as a way to really get people into the health-care career in a way that won't cost them anything - it's completely free," he said, "and hopefully they start a career that will flourish and continue within the health-care field."

Earlier this year, the state issued a survey that offered a glimpse into industry shortages. Vacancy rates climbed for several professions, including licensed practical nurses. That rate climbed from 12% in 2019 to 17% in 2021.


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