Local veterans hoping to find a new job in health care can now take advantage of a free training program at the Community College of Allegheny County.
The Veterans Health Career Education Project will train qualified veterans and their spouses to become certified as paramedics or nursing assistants. Only those who are unemployed, underemployed, or on public assistance are eligible.
CCAC Director of Training and Development Mary Jo Guercio says you must be already trained as an EMT to enroll in the two-year paramedic program, and you need a fifth grade comprehension level to enroll in the nursing assistant program. All of the training and clinical hours are free, but uniforms and state certification exams must be paid by the individual.
Guercio says after the first year of training, CCAC will begin a "bridge program" for vets and their spouses.
"They could get their English and their math scores and their terminology, you know, medical terms and words, up to par, so that if they need to take the placement test to get [jobs], they can perhaps pass that test," says Guercio.
Guercio says the training project is funded by a Department of Education grant for about $200,000. She says CCAC hopes to train 80 nursing assistants and 40 paramedics over the next two years.