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American Red Cross and Walmart Offer Nurse Assistant Training

$3.5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation helps equip and empower students

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2013 The American Red Cross will help 2,500 students receive training for entry-level healthcare careers through the Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training (NAT) program thanks to a $3.5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation. The program equips students and helps give them a career pathway into the fast-growing industry, while also helping communities alleviate a shortage of adequately trained Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs).  

The $3.5 million grant for the training, which primarily will help women below the poverty line, is the first credential-specific training grant Walmart has awarded as part of their Global Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative.

“Walmart is making it possible for so many who have the desire and aptitude to work in the healthcare field to get a solid foundation and a head start through our Nurse Assistant Training,” said Joseph Alfonso, Senior National Director, Nurse Assistant Training Operations, American Red Cross.  “As many as 10 times the number of annual graduates from our program would like to take the course but cannot afford to do so.”

The Red Cross training program supports the goals of Walmart’s Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, one of which is to help 200,000 U.S. women from low-income households access job training, education, career counseling, and mentoring to increase their employment opportunities. More information on this initiative can be found at corporate.walmart.com/women.

“Walmart is excited to help bring Red Cross training to more women who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity due to financial barriers,” said MiKaela Wardlaw Lemmon, Senior Director of Women’s Economic Empowerment at Walmart. “By joining forces with the Red Cross, we are helping them to earn average wage increases of about 20 percent and to find jobs that provide health insurance for themselves and their families. This program will help us meet our goal of empowering women in the U.S. and around the world.”

Red Cross NAT instructors equip students with the skills required to become CNAs and provide basic care such as feeding, dressing, bathing and monitoring patients so they can work in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living, hospitals and in-home health care. The program also offers graduates placement support and a distinct emphasis on professionalism, punctuality and a commitment towards work.

What Graduates of the program are saying:

Happy is not a word I have used to describe myself in many years
“The American Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training has been a great experience. This class, this change, has steered me in a direction that is finally moving forward… It is exciting to feel happiness and fulfillment in accomplishing this course and starting anew, and happy is not a word I have used to describe myself in many years. I hope to find a full-time position in a hospital. After that, who knows where I will go. I am considering becoming a LPN, or possibly physical therapy.” — Recent NAT graduate, Holly Elswick, from Louisville, Ky.

I received the job before I even left the building
“Over the period of my Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training class I not only gained knowledge for my career, but I also gained love and support from my fellow classmates who are also soul-searching for better opportunities in their own lives. This class made it possible for me to feel confident in care-giving, and I feel it almost made me a better mother. But my triumph does not end there. In the process of this class I applied for many jobs that required Certified Nursing Assistant training. And to my surprise I got a call for an interview, and when my interviewer heard I was currently enrolled with the Red Cross [NAT], I received the job before I even left the building.” —Recent NAT graduate, Rebecca Burdette, from Albany, Ind.

The American Red Cross has trained and engaged America’s nurses in its life saving mission for more than 130 years.  Last year, the Red Cross taught health and safety skills to nearly 12 million people nationwide. 

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About Philanthropy at Walmart 
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally, Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the needs of the communities it serves and make a significant social impact within its core areas of giving: Hunger Relief & Healthy Eating, Sustainability, Career Opportunity and Women’s Economic Empowerment. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States with a $2 billion commitment through 2015. Walmart has donated more than 1 billion meals to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit foundation.walmart.com.