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CNA Apprentice Program

First Certified Nurse Aide Apprenticeship program helps both students and employers


CNA student Shelly Sarcilla at Ann Pearl Care Home

Students studying to become a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) or Nurse Aide (NA) in the Windward Community College Health Science Pathway will benefit from a Hawai‘i Department of Labor and Industrial Relations contract awarded to the state’s CNA Apprenticeship Program. The contract supports a seamless transition from CNA training at Windward CC to a paid apprenticeship position with one of the program’s 10 employer-partners.  

Each employer in the network is committed to providing on-the-job apprenticeship positions to students seeking state certification as a CNA or NA apprentice. The 2,000-hour advanced apprenticeship training includes tuition waivers.

Why an apprenticeship program
The CNA Apprenticeship Program is designed to train students to qualify for higher wage jobs in the healthcare industry by continually building on the foundation of the nurse aide profession. The apprenticeship program will connect students with employers to reduce the NA and CNA workforce shortages. Of the top 50 fastest-growing occupations in Hawai‘i, personal and home care aide is ranked number 1 (Hawai‘i Department of Labor). This increase in the demand for healthcare workers is primarily the result of a growing and aging population.

The new CNA Apprenticeship Program at Windward CC was created for both students and healthcare employers with the aim to:

  1. help students who desire to work in an entry-level healthcare career but need help with tuition, ​training and/or connecting with employers; and
  2. develop and support​ an employer network ​so that employers have closer connections with trained students ready to fill job vacancies.

The first 7-week certified nurse aide course will start on August 21. Five classes per year are scheduled to train 50 new apprentices.

After completing the 7-week training (180 hours) of the apprenticeship students may earn a certificate as a nurse aide or qualify to take the state’s CNA certification exam. In addition to the first 180 hours of campus-based apprenticeship training, students will also receive 1,820 hours of on-the-job training designed to prepare students for higher wage jobs and higher education in many health-related fields. The 2,000-hour apprenticeship program may be completed in as little as one year, or up to two years, at a student’s pace. After completing the entire apprenticeship program, students will receive a nationally recognized Department of Labor Apprenticeship Certificate. Jamie Boyd, Windward CC’s director for the Health Careers Pathway, wrote the contract proposal and formed an Employer-Partners Network comprised of the following local healthcare providers to collaborate with Windward CC:

Adventist Health at Castle Medical Center           Kuakini Geriatric Care
Aloha Nursing and Rehab Center                         
Lunalilo Home
Ann Pearl Care Home                                           
Maunalani Nursing and Rehab Center
Hale Ku'ike Bayside                                              
Nu‘uanu Hale
Kina 'Ole Estate                                                    
Good Samaritan Society - Pohai Nani

“We will connect each CNA or nurse aide with employer-partners that match their career plans. Students can persist in higher education courses while completing the apprenticeship,” said Boyd. 

Since the launch of the CNA Nursing Pathway in 2007, 30 students have become registered nurses. For her work, Boyd won the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Community Health Leaders Award in 2011. “The most rewarding thing is to have students who would have never seen the inside of a nursing lab graduating and getting jobs,” she says.

To apply, or for more information about the Windward CC CNA Apprenticeship Program and Nursing Pathway, contact Apprenticeship Program Manager Noe Puaauli 808-235-7329 or