Nursing shortage means more demand for nursing assistants

TAMPA, Fla. – It’s the same almost everywhere in the country — there just aren’t enough nurses to go around. But two smart women are teaming up to take the shortage down by training more nursing assistants.

Starkeisha Pearson didn’t think this would ever be her career.

“Me and my husband didn’t have the money to send me through school,” said Pearson.

But thanks to an enterprising pair of best friends, today she’s a certified nursing assistant with the badge to prove it.

“Just being able to change lives of others … that is the big key in my heart,” shared Jaclyn Kelly, Co-Owner, C.N.A. Technical Center.

Two years ago, Jaclyn and her friend Ellisa Durrant built their nursing assistant training center and offered the Learn to Earn program. They turned to employers to subsidize students’ training.

“The long-term care industry is really suffering from a great shortage,” stated Ellisa Durrant, Co-Owner, C.N.A. Technical Center.

These programs provide low-income people with an education never before available to them … an education that also leads to better jobs.

“It feels so good to know that we’ve touched so many lives and families,” continued Kelly.

“We've made mistakes. All business owners, I don’t care who you are, I don’t care if you are an owner of an NFL team, you make mistakes. You make financial mistakes. But it’s all in how you bounce back,” explained Durrant.

CNA training courses like Learn to Earn are prospering. It’s estimated the vocation will grow by at least 10 percent in the next nine years. Salaries start at $23,000 dollars but can go as high as $34,000 dollars.

The training program runs about eight weeks long and students can work at the same time. If they go on to become registered nurses, salaries can exceed $63,000 dollars.

Contributors to this news report include: Emily Gleason, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Chris Tilley, Videographer.