Students participate in the first CNA class at the Bullock County Career Technical Center.

Students participate in the first CNA class at the Bullock County Career Technical Center.

Wallace Community College – Dothan has teamed up with the Bullock County Development Authority (BCDA), Bullock County Career Technical Center (BCCTC), and Southern Springs Healthcare (SSH) to offer a new 6-week Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program.

The new course began Monday, February 1, and is being held at the BCCTC.

“The Wallace CNA program in Bullock County is another wonderful example of how partnerships that are cultivated between the community and education can bring forth new and exciting career opportunities to the members that live within that community,” said Kecia Forehand, Workforce Development Coordinator at WCCD. “I dedicated a year and a half to help get this program off the ground and around many hurdles, but there was no greater sense of pride for me than when I was able to be there the first night of class to welcome our students.”

Putting the course together was a labor of love for all involved, culminating Monday after a long process.

“Our partners have been amazing to work with, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact this program will have within the Bullock County community,” Forehand said.

“I’m so excited for the students and the new direction they are taking in their personal lives by being a part of this program. They have an amazing instructor, Cynthia Holmes, to guide them through.”

Dr. Marvin Lowe, Director of BCCTC, took on the project after opening the center in 2018.

“It’s just a wonderful partnership that I am excited to be in with Wallace,” Lowe said.

“My goal is to make this process a success so that every semester… we have a classroom full of students that are engaged with their instructor. The success behind this CNA adult program will lead to other programs that I can partner with Wallace in the evenings and nights for adults that are in Bullock County.”

Lowe said he was excited to see the class kick off and students eager to learn and get to work.

“Everyone has been tremendous to work with,” Lowe said. “It was just great to see the adults returning to class and investing in their future. This is going to add to the work force in Bullock County and just make life better for everyone.”

Ben Main, CEO and President of SSH, said he and Kristy Tanner, Administrator at SSH, are excited to work with everyone to provide these students with the opportunity to learn and gain employment at the end of the course.

“We feel like if we raise the care of our people that are going to school to be a CNA., that we are also raising the care of our residents,” Main said. “It’s a win, win for us too. We are looking for a long-term relationship with Wallace, not only this time but next time and other programs that we will have coming along.”

Southern Springs Healthcare has agreed to scholarship the first class of students and has guaranteed employment for all participants who successfully complete the program.

Joe Johnson, Workforce Development Director at WCCD, said everyone invested a lot of hard work to make the course happen, and he is excited to see the potential that these partners have together.

“With those partnerships, we were able to work together to bring this course to fruition, which will greatly support the region’s workforce needs in Bullock County,” Johnson said.

“It’s extremely exciting to see it come together. To me, it just shows the strength in partnerships that we can bring it all to fruition.”

The BCDA, under the direction of Economic Developer David Padgett, donated $15,000 to purchase the necessary equipment to begin the program and give back to the community.

“The BCDA wanted to contribute to the community’s effort in adult education, workforce development, and skills training,” Padgett said. “Bullock County has one of the few rural hospitals left in the state, along with a thriving nursing home. We feel it is imperative that we maintain the skilled workers needed to support our county's healthcare needs.”

All partners plan to continue the CNA course in the future, and hope to increase the number of participants once they are safely able to accommodate more students.

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