Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Access to medication is key to HIV prevention, a Florida university uses a religious exemption to disband its faculty union, plus Nevada tribes and conservation leaders praise a new national monument plan.


The House passed a bill to avert a crippling railroad strike, Hakeem Jefferies is chosen to lead House Democrats, and President Biden promises more federal-Native American engagement at the Tribal Nations Summit.


The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Amid Shortages, MN Seeks to Train More Future Nurses


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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