Middlesex County College offers free nursing program

Military veterans and individuals with low income will soon have a free route to becoming a certified nursing assistant.

Middlesex County College (MCC) will kick off its program at the end of June at Roosevelt Care Center’s vacant hospice center in Edison, with clinical rotations at the center itself.

“This is a wonderful way for veterans and low-income people to start a career in this high-demand field,” said Martin Schamberger, a coordinator in MCC’s Continuing Education Division. “We have employers calling us already. This is a great program for a variety of reasons. It is a pathway to the health care world. It’s an in-demand field, and we offer a job development specialist to help graduates find employment. And we can typically cover all the costs.”

For those interested in advancing, certified nursing assistants can go on for a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse certification, or for a career as a medical assistant.

The 90-hour program can be completed in five weeks and will prepare graduates to assist nurses and doctors in caring for patients in nursing homes, hospitals and other institutions. It is funded by two federal grants: the Health Professions Opportunity Grant and the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant.

While class size is limited to 10 for the summer, that number may grow depending on demand. JFK Medical Center’s Hartwyck centers have also been enlisted as a site for clinicals if the need arises.

Schamberger praised Roosevelt Care Center for its partnership in developing the program, as well as the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, which approved the agreement. He also credited Jane Brady, former executive director of the county’s Workforce Investment Board, who served as a liaison to the improvement authority.

“There was no available space on the Edison campus that could be dedicated for this program,” Schamberger said. “She suggested the Roosevelt site and made contact with the improvement authority. I don’t think the program would exist without her contributions.”

The certified nursing assistant program is approved by the New Jersey Department of Health. Those interested in participating should attend an information session. For dates and times, email nnjhpc@middlesexcc.edu or call 732-906-7735.