Governor Kemp Announces Certified Nurse Program Grant as Healthcare Staffing Shortages Linger

Governor Brian Porter Kemp announced in a Monday press release that a grant that will award some $800,000 to 500 Georgian high school students through the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Pilot Program.

“Here in Georgia, we are committed to meeting the needs of our young people as they prepare to enter our world-class workforce following years of pandemic disruptions, and we are excited to see how this program will make a difference in their lives as it also helps us fulfill a critical workforce need,” the Republican governor said.

The grant will be administered through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Program and is targeted at students who have been negatively affected by COVID.

“All 500 students will accomplish these certifications while remaining on track to complete their High School Diploma on time,” the Georgia governor’s office said.

The recipients will be current Dual-Enrollment high schoolers who aim to obtain a Nurse Aid Technical College Certificate (TCC), a certification which includes in-person clinical training.

“Due to the pandemic, the instructional and educational pathways of many of thee students were disrupted, including a halt in clinical rotations required to complete one’s CNA,” Kemp’s office said.

Half of the recipients, 250, will also be able to obtain another TCC in Geriatric Care (GC51) such that those nurses are certified to work in assisted-living facilities.

“The structure of the pilot program allows them to get back on track and gain the support that might otherwise have helped to fund their educational pathways,” Kemp said in the release.

Additionally, the grant will cover the cost of the CNA examination that students must pass at the end of the program.

The funds for the nursing programs derive from Kemp’s Emergency Education Relief Fund from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), which was signed into law on December 27, 2020.

Amber Connor, Security Chair for The Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, spoke with The Georgia Star News on Monday about what has driven the need for more nurses.

Connor pointed out the fact that the vaccine mandates implemented by hospitals resulted in a shortage of employees.

A “lot of [patients], when they go, there’s extra waiting times and there’s backlogs with heart surgery and a lot of other things, because a lot of hospitals got rid of and fired those critical care workers,” she said.

As a result of the mass exodus of hospital workers who did not want take a COVID-19 vaccination, several hospital systems decided to drop their vaccine requirements.

The CNA Pilot Program will augment nurse ranks throughout the Peach State and help the shortage.

“In summary, 500 students will achieve their High School Diploma on time, achieve a TCC in Nursing Aide (CN21) at a College and career Academy with clinical learning, experiential training, and internships at a partnering healthcare system, and have their CNA examination test fee covered,” Kemp’s team said in their Monday statement.

The disbursements of the additional $59.7 million available as a result of CRRSA will be announced over the course of the next few months.

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 Addison Basurto is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and The Star News Network. Follow Addy on Twitter and GETTR. Email tips/inquiries to [email protected]
Photo “Brian Kemp” by Governor Brian Kemp. Background Photo “Nursing Assistant” by Anna Shvets.


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