Meeting the Demand for Better, In-Demand Jobs with a $50,000 Grant

A nurse aid taking blood pressure of an older personIn New Jersey, there is a demand for approximately 1,800 additional Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs). According to the New Jersey Hospital Association, that number is expected to grow by an additional 8,200 over the next decade. CNAs generally are employed in full-time jobs with benefits, including both health care and a 401(k). At County College of Morris (CCM), qualified individuals now can gain that certification – in as little as seven to 10 weeks – and at no cost.

With a $50,000 grant from the Community Foundation of New Jersey, funded by the Somerset Hills Health Foundation, CCM will be able to prepare 20 Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) individuals for a better career path as a CNA. ALICE families are those that do not fall into the federal poverty level, but whose earnings are not enough to meet basic household needs.

Along with covering tuition for the CNA program, offered through CCM’s Center for Workforce Development (WFD), the grant is available to help with such issues as transportation, childcare and emergency expenses.

“The other good news is that we have employers who are waiting to hire our CNAs,” says Irena Kaler, WFD director. “This is a wonderful opportunity for those looking for a better career path. It’s also a great stepping-stone for individuals who would like to advance into other positions within the healthcare industry, such as into nursing, radiography or respiratory therapy.” Along with those programs, CCM also provides other opportunities for working in health care, including medical billing, paramedic science and pharmacy technician.

CNAs work in nursing homes and other residential care facilities, hospitals, rehab centers, long-term care facilities and home healthcare companies. The average starting salary is $18 an hour and for those with one to two years of experience up to $20 an hour.

WFD is currently enrolling CNA students for the summer and fall. For more information and to apply, email or call 973-328-5187. All students in the CNA program first need to satisfactorily complete a criminal background check and a drug screening at facilities approved by CCM, as well as provide an extensive medical history. The cost for the background check is also a covered expense under the grant. To learn more about CCM’s CNA program, visit