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Next Generation Nursing Assistant Initiative awards equipment grants to Cook County, Duluth, and other high schools throughout the state

Feb 02, 2023 08:45AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Mat Napo 

From the Minnesota Office of Higher Education - February 1, 2023

Today, the Next Generation Nursing Assistant (NGNA) initiative, a collaboration of the State of Minnesota and Minnesota State, awarded $98,800 in equipment grants to 24 Minnesota high schools. School districts will use this funding to purchase or improve lab equipment and materials necessary for nursing assistant training.

“These grants will help connect high school students throughout the state to job training for an in-demand career,” Minnesota Office of Higher Education Commissioner Dennis Olson said. “When we announced the Next Generation Nursing Assistant initiative, we issued a call for Minnesotans take a stand and support the health of our state. The response is truly overwhelming. This initiative is providing Minnesotans with a free pathway into the health care field and creating a model for how we can fill job vacancies in other high-need careers.”

According to data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, nursing assistants are the sixth most in-demand job in the state. This need was exacerbated during the pandemic, leading Governor Tim Walz to deploy 400 National guard members to support Minnesota’s long-term care facilities and veterans’ homes in 2021.

Governor Walz then set a goal for the state to recruit and train 1,000 new nursing assistants, with the state launching the NGNA initiative in January 2022. The initiative provides Minnesotans with free nursing assistant training, as well as covering the cost of books, uniform, and certification exam. To date, 2,306 Minnesotans have completed, or are in the process of completing their training, more than double the Governor’s initial goal. Training for the initiative is offered through Minnesota State campuses, private providers, and in high schools.

“The Next Generation Nursing Assistant has been a great initiative, and we are very proud to be a part of it,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State. “With the results the program is showing, it is clearly making a difference -- both now in terms of meeting an immediate need for certified nursing assistants in the workforce, as well as in the future as these high school students continue their training and launch careers in nursing.”

The NGNA initiative was initially made possible through federal American Recovery Plan funds. The state then invested an additional $2.4 million in COVID-19 Management Appropriation funding to continue the program.

While current funding for the program ends in February 2023, Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan have proposed to continue the initiative in their One Minnesota Budget. This budget recommendation is an investment in the health of our state and would provide $3 million each biennium in ongoing funding to ensure hospitals, long-term care facilities, and veterans homes have the staff they need to care for patients and residents.

The following high schools received grant funding from the Next Generation Nursing Assistant Funding:

School District

Award Amount

Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District 191

$5,000

Fergus Falls Public Schools

$5,000

Wright Technical Center 

$5,000

Cass Lake – Bena Public Schools District 115 

$5,000

Forest Lakes Area Schools 

$5,000

Shakopee Schools 

$3,116

SouthWest Metro Intermediate District

$4,946

White Bear Lake Area Schools

$5,000

ISD 728 

$4994

Marshall School District 

$4513

Northeast Metro Intermediate School District 

$5,000

Duluth Public Schools #709 

$5,000

Plainville – Elgin – Melville Community School  

$4,455

Sartell School District 

$5,000

Brandon-Evansville School District

$2,200

Cook County ISD 166 

$3,736

Hutchinson Public Schools 

$1,118

Lincoln International High School 

$5,000

West Central Area Schools District 2342 

$5,000

Greenway Public Schools

$1,997

Milaca ISD 912 

$4,206

Osseo Area School District

$2,800

Rushford Peterson Schools 

$2,501

Redwood Valley High School 

$3,200