The recently completed Orrin S. Estebo Career Development and Training Center and the tremendous community support have empowered the Redwood Area School District (RASD) to offer new class opportunities for students at RASD and area community members.

Minnesota West Community and Technical College has partnered with RASD to offer classes previously not available to our students.

During listening sessions we held over the last year, the health care community identified a shortage of workers with the certified nursing assistant (CNA) certification as a real concern as well as the lack of availability of a CNA training program in our community.

The nearest locations for CNA training programs previously available was in Springfield or Granite Falls.

This fall, RASD collaborated with Minnesota West and offered a CNA program Monday evenings for students and adults. The RASD also partnered with the private industry council who provided support to the adult learners.

The class participants completed 10 weeks of coursework in the new health room and 24 hours of clinical work at Wood Dale Nursing Home. Four students and two adults completed this first CNA class, receiving their nursing aide certification.

Upon the successful completion of the program, the participants received three college credits from Minnesota West Community and Technical College. In addition the high-school students received .5 high-school credits.

Three additional classes will be offered this spring at Redwood Area School District in partnership with Minnesota West to continue to meet area needs.

Beginning Jan. 20, a second CNA program will begin. The CNA class will again be offered after school hours.

In addition to the CNA class, a trained medical aide (TMA) program will be offered to our students and to adults. A TMA certification allows CNAs to advance in the medical field with the training focused on the administration of medications.

This course will be a “hybrid” course with face-to-face meetings and online coursework required. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will receive three college credits and .5 high school credits.

The third class offered this spring will be an emergency medical responder (EMR) course. The EMR course is an introductory course allowing participants to receive training in providing care during medical emergencies. This class will be held during the week as well as Saturdays. Participants will receive two college credits, and Redwood Valley High School students will receive .5 high-school credits.

Contact Ally Carlson at acarlson@redwoodareaschools.com with any questions or to register for one of the classes.

The Redwood Area School District is continuing to explore other options for classes which address area needs and allow both students and community members to participate.

Exemplary collaboration and partnerships between the school district, businesses, organizations and Minnesota West Career and Technical College will continue to provide programs to address needs in our community.

– Darcy Josephson is the RASD director of teaching and learning