Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Training Program Gets Lift-Off

Holbrook at Piper Shores and Scarborough Adult Education have joined forces to offer a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training program aimed at preparing a workforce to fill what is becoming a significant healthcare shortage across Southern Maine and nationally. The new partnership comes just as Holbrook prepares for the opening of its new assisted living and memory care residence. The Holbrook expansion not only provides increased residential opportunities for seniors, but it expands the need for a reliable, well-trained workforce, too.

Recent graduating class of CNAs at Holbrook pose for a group photo.


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“Holbrook needs more CNAs, especially in light of our expansion,” said Holbrook Assisted Living Nurse Manager, Christine Cook, RN BSN. “By July, we’ll be hiring and training as many as 18 CNAs for our Holbrook residences. Realizing our long-term hiring needs, we wanted to get ahead of the curve and create a program that could become a solution for us,” noted Cook.

In the spirit of collaboration, Cook connected with Scarborough Adult Education to see if they could develop a program that would offer courses and clinical opportunities right on the Holbrook/Piper Shores campus. The 180-hour, 11-week course program got underway last November, and a second class started up in March. Classes take place in the Holbrook building at Piper Shores and CNA students train in real-time with the residents of Holbrook and Piper Shores.

“Maine has a real shortage of CNAs, and the issue is going to explode over the next decade as Maine’s population ages and as we become more of a retirement destination,” said Joan Tremberth, Director of Scarborough Adult Education. In an effort to create more highly trained professionals, Tremberth has been on a mission to expand educational opportunities in Southern Maine.

Holbrook and Scarborough Adult Education will train as many as 17 certified nursing assistants in 2017. If successful, a series of training programs will be offered throughout the year that are designed to prepare students for a future in healthcare.

What is a CNA?

A CNA provides direct care and assistance with the activities of daily living. They spend the most time developing the strongest relationships with residents, and they are usually the first to notice when there is a status change with a resident. “They are the eyes and the ears of the nurse,” explains Cook.

“I hope even more partnerships like these will arise in the future,” says Tremberth. “After all, we are going to require a lot of great caregivers in Maine in the very near future. We need people who enjoy making a difference in people’s lives,” she said.

Piper Shores CEO Jim Adamowicz praised the partnership and commended his staff for its resourcefulness. “It’s inspiring when a staff member takes ownership of a challenge and uses creativity and determination to find a solution,” he said. “We can all be proud to work for a vibrant, results-oriented nonprofit organization that is working to solve problems by creating real and needed opportunities.”