Walmart Foundation funds nurse assistant training program

WASHINGTON — The Walmart Foundation has awarded the American Red Cross with a $3.5 million grant that will help 2,500 students receive training for entry-level healthcare careers through the Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training program.

The program is designed to help give students a career pathway into the industry, while also helping communities alleviate a shortage of adequately trained Certified Nurse Assistants.

The grant will primarily help women below the poverty line. It is the first credential-specific training grant Walmart has awarded as part of their Global Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative.

“Walmart is making it possible for so many who have the desire and aptitude to work in the healthcare field to get a solid foundation and a head start through our Nurse Assistant Training,” said Joseph Alfonso, senior national director, nurse assistant training operations, American Red Cross. “As many as 10 times the number of annual graduates from our program would like to take the course but cannot afford to do so.”

One of the goals of Walmart’s Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative is to help 200,000 U.S. women from low-income households access job training, education, career counseling and mentoring to increase their employment opportunities. The Red Cross training program aligns itself with this particular goal.

“Walmart is excited to help bring Red Cross training to more women who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity due to financial barriers,” said MiKaela Wardlaw Lemmon, senior director of women’s economic empowerment at Walmart. “By joining forces with the Red Cross, we are helping them to earn average wage increases of about 20% and to find jobs that provide health insurance for themselves and their families. This program will help us meet our goal of empowering women in the U.S. and around the world.”

Red Cross NAT instructors equip students with the skills they need to become CNAs so they can provide basic care such as feeding, dressing, bathing and monitoring patients and, therefore, work in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living, hospitals and in-home health care. The program also offers graduates placement support and a distinct emphasis on professionalism, punctuality and a commitment toward work.