Trudy Brenner didn’t know if she’d ever have the opportunity to work as a health care provider again.

Brenner’s Certified Nursing Assistant certification had lapsed, and the cost of being recertified was prohibitive, especially for someone who had been homeless and just recently graduated Mel Trotter Ministries’ rehabilitation program.

But through Mel Trotter, Brenner was introduced to a program new to Grand Rapids, catering to students who were interested in a career in health care but might not have the means to act on it. Put on via a partnership between West Michigan Works! and the Michigan Career and Technical Institute, the program is 13 weeks long, involves rigorous education, and for students who qualify, it allows them to get certified at no out-of-pocket cost.

“It was right up my alley,” said Tiffany Burrell, another program participant who graduated the program with Brenner and eight other students two weeks ago.

After running a number of successful training courses in Benton Harbor, Detroit and Battle Creek, the MCTI brought its specialized CNA training course to Grand Rapids. The curriculum is tailored to suit the needs of participants with lower skill levels, and when the course is completed, students receive CNA certification and are considered job ready.

Each class comprises of about a dozen students who begin the CNA program with a three-week pre-class workshop taught by West Michigan Works! Through the pre-class training, the students are taught the basic tenets of the workforce, including soft skills and professionalism, while also learning basic medical terminology.

You can find the full story on the website of our partner, the Grand Rapids Business Journal or pick up this week's edition of the newspaper on a newsstand.