Jennifer Welling’s children were listening when she advocated the importance of a post-secondary education. One is attending college, the second, a high schooler, is also on a similar track.

At 44, it’s now Welling’s turn. Her children insisted she attend Tuesday evening’s information and qualification session at CareerSource in Fort Myers to learn more about becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA), and available tuition and scholarship assistance, according to a press release by the FutureMakers Coalition.

“As much as I’ve pushed my children to get an education, I’ve put it off for me,” she said. “Now my kids are pushing it back on me. It’s my time.”

Welling, who works in the restaurant industry, was one of nearly 60 men and women participating in the recruitment program, a collaboration between Lee Memorial Health SystemSouthwest Florida Community Foundation, CareerSource Southwest Florida, and Fort Myers and Cape Coral technical colleges, all partners in the FutureMakers Coalition.

The groups are offering tuition assistance, scholarship opportunities and are pushing for applicants for February classes at the schools. Lee Memorial hopes to hire as many CNAs as possible, and the schools hope to get students trained and working in their field at Lee Memorial or other medical facilities in Lee County.

The CNA certification programs are designed to get students from the classroom to work in as early as six weeks. In addition to the hospital’s benefits package, CNAs at Lee Memorial have the opportunity to transfer after six months and receive tuition assistance toward associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as specialized certification training.

To read more, see the full press release here.

Photo credit: FutureMakers Coalition 

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