Nursing Program

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As a single mom living in Rockford, Arsinia Holmes was looking for a way into the nursing field and a chance at a better career and life.

Swedish American Hospital is making her dreams come true. A week from now she'll complete a CNS, or Certified Nursing Assistant program. Grant money dispersed through the hospital paid for the training and all of Holmes' supplies.

"It's not just a job, it's definitely a career. I've just enjoyed it immensely. It's something I definitely want to go into afterwards," said Holmes.

Holmes is one of 12 people going through the program. They're all residents of the neighborhood surrounding Swedish American. Many we're struggling in dead-end low paying jobs, but now they're ready to enter the field of nursing.

"The nice thing with the CNA job is you're talking about getting into a full-time, benefited position that has growth potential," said Swedish American Executive Vice President John Mecklenburg.

The program also addresses a nursing shortage in Rockford.

Anderson says, "It's an excellent way to get good workers; someone who wants a job, someone who's interest in the healthcare into the field," said Rock Valley College CNA Program Chair Sandy Anderson.

Arsinia Holmes says she loves what she's doing and is grateful for the opportunity.

"I don't think I would have done this at this point. It probably would have been one of those dreams you keep pushing off and pushing off and you're 50 and it's too late," said Holmes.

The program is funded through a one-time grant through the City of Rockford and participants must live in the 61104 zip code near the hospital. All 12 students are expected to complete the program and a few already have job offers.