Angie Schalch and Melissa Mitchell are both employees of Community Action in Carlisle.
Action is exactly what Schalch had in mind when she saw a need among the clients she serves. “People need jobs, and there aren’t many jobs in our area,” Schalch explained. “But there is always a need for nurse aides.”
An idea was born.
Schalch is the Manager and Mitchell is a Family Development Specialist at Community Action. Together they started trying to piece together a way to make their dream a reality for the people in their community. In the spring of 2016, Schalch reached out to Lenora Kinney, Workforce Community Education Coordinator at the Licking Valley Campus of Maysville Community and Technical College (MCTC) in Cynthiana, and shared her vision of a nurse aid class in Carlisle to fulfill the need for qualified aides to work at Johnson Mather’s Nursing Home, located next door to Community Action.
MCTC Medicaid Nurse Aid Program Coordinator, Sally Parker, worked with Mitchell to create the class.
“It is not as easy as just providing a classroom space with desks and chairs.” Mitchell said. “We had to create a nurse aide lab with hospital beds, stethoscopes, and blood pressure cuffs.”
Mitchell and Parker worked with Harrison Memorial Hospital, MCTC and Johnson Mathers Nursing Home to secure the items needed to equip the nurse aide lab.
Parker explained that the process of offering a nurse aide class at a new location begins with MCTC’s accrediting body, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Schools (SACSCOC). A submission is made and must be acknowledged and approved before any classes are offered. Once the acknowledgement from SACSCOC was received, work began on outfitting the small room with the necessary equipment to make it a nurse aide lab.
Any new site must pass an inspection prior to offering a class. On Wednesday March 21, the state MNA coordinator made the trip to Carlisle from Versailles, and inspected the new lab. The site met all the state criteria and classes were approved to begin.
“It makes me so happy that these students are going to get to take a college class.” Mitchell stated. “Some of them have never thought they would ever have more than a high school diploma let alone the chance to earn a college certificate.”
MCTC representatives from admissions and financial aid have met with students at the site over the past few weeks. Students have completed applications for financial aid to help secure funding for the class. Students taking the course will be both traditional and non-traditional. MCTC Admissions Specialist, Lauren Mattox, stated that a few of the student are current Nicholas County High School seniors who will be taking the class for dual credit. While others are non-traditional students seeking to start a new career in the healthcare field.
Students who successfully complete the class will be able to take the state exam. After passing the state exam students will become a state registered nurse aide and will be able to work in a variety of positions including hospitals and nursing homes. Through a partnership with Community Action and Johnson Mathers Nursing Home,
students who successfully pass their state exam will be interviewed for positions at the nursing home as registered Nurse Aids. Job placement isn’t the only benefit of the NAA class, students who are in need of child care while attending the class can take advantage of the newly established Child Development Class at Community Action.
Although it took some time, roughly two years, and dedication to overcome multiple hurdles, the efforts of Schalch, Mitchell and others is already starting to pay off as the first NAA class began on March 28.
The class meets Monday through Thursday for four weeks. MCTC plans to offer another nurse aide class during the summer semester and an evening class in the fall. Interested students may call Melissa Mitchell at Community Action at 859-222-2222 or Lauren Mattox at MCTC at 859-234-8626 extension 66436 for more information.