Student Success: MCC/VRABE Partnership Graduates 10 in Special Certified Nurse Aide Cohort

MANCHESTER, Conn.  (May 17, 2022) – A grant-funded partnership between Manchester Community College and Vernon Regional Adult Board of Education (VRABE) created a special Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) program. A cohort of ten students recently graduated and passed their state certification exams.

The partnership is funded by a three-year Program Enhancement Project (PEP) grant from the Connecticut State Department of Education’s (CSDE) Bureau of Health, Nutrition, Family Services and Adult Education. The PEP grant is designed for adult education providers to offer programs that meet goals of underserved adults.

VRABE conducts courses in literacy while MCC provides workforce training via a 12-week non-credit CNA program that consists of a combination of classwork, labs and clinical sessions. A CNA provides basic care to patients while under the supervision of nursing staff. The ten students are now qualified with the skills and pre-requisites to work in long-term care facilities, hospitals, clinics and home health agencies.

From Left, Juliana Aruajo Batista Brito, Samar Amin, Kye Hwa Shin, Caren Cano-Cruz, Destiny Harrison,
MCC Instructor Andrea Dillon (RN, Med), Christine Costin, Vanessa Mitchell, Lilly Garcia and Samanda Corrado. Not pictured: Phuong “Jenny” Bui

Members of the cohort each overcame many barriers to success including language, childcare and access to technology, according to Carleigh Schultz, MCC’s director of credit-free programs.

“This ‘Terrific 10’ have worked very hard to get to this night,” she told attendees at the graduation ceremony. “This is a moment for us to celebrate their accomplishments and, more importantly, to honor their commitment to help others in the healthcare field. Let us focus on the good, the kind and the helpful. Thank you to for signing up to be the helpers of the world.”

Cortney Gerlach, English as a Second Language (ESL) regional coordinator for VRABE, added, “We could not be more pleased with how well the partnership between MCC and VRABE developed. This program allowed our adult education students, and our district-local high school students, the opportunity to become CNA-certified, while still attending either their ESL classes or their high school classes. MCC’s flexibility and dedication to our students was unparalleled. We were extremely grateful for this opportunity and look forward to working together in the future.”