June 16, 2021


New Initiative Offers Certified Nursing Assistant Training for Young Adults Leaving High School

Tacoma, WA –

A new training program in Pierce County offers young adults leaving high school an opportunity to enter directly into an in-demand field with a promising career pathway in healthcare.

The Young Adult Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Cohort started in early July and runs for a total of four weeks. Participants in the program receive 100 hours of training, CPR certification, clinical experience in a hospital, and will leave fully prepared for the written and hands-on State Exam.

“As vaccination rates continue to increase and our community recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, I am reminded every day about how vital our certified nursing assistants and other frontline healthcare professionals are,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “I am delighted to see that Workforce Central is now well positioned to provide our high school graduates from Tacoma Public Schools with an opportunity to receive the critical training and education needed to fill these important family wage jobs. All 20 spots in our inaugural class have been filled and these students are excited to complete the program and get to work.”

This pilot CNA Cohort filled 20 open positions with eligible exiting seniors from Tacoma Public Schools, with tuition for the program covered through a federal grant.

“We are very excited for the students participating in this training opportunity,” said Kari Haugen, Director of Workforce Partnerships at WorkForce Central. “Often, the first step into a career path is the most challenging to navigate. By offering a direct connection to training while removing barriers through the provision of wrap-around services, students remain engaged during the transition between high school and the beginning of their career.”

The initiative is a partnership between MultiCare Health System, Divine CNA Institute, Tacoma Public Schools, WorkForce Central, and WorkSource Pierce. Collaboratively, they coordinate the program, conduct outreach to students, provide training and experience, and give wrap-around support, guidance, and resources for participating young adults to ensure successful completion of the program.

“I am inspired by this action-oriented all-star team of partners coming together to serve graduating seniors as they transition into post-secondary education and the workplace,” said John Page, Director of Career and Technical Education at Tacoma Public Schools. “This is a delivery model that Tacoma Public Schools is seeking to replicate in other in-demand family-wage careers!”

For more information about the Young Adult CNA Cohort, contact Kari Haugen at or 253-448-8283.



Kari Haugen, Director of Workforce Partnerships, WorkForce Central, 253-448-8283,
Joanna Rasmussen, Director of Communications, WorkForce Central, 253-213-2960,

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