by Yuut Staff
On a Friday afternoon in late September Yuut Elitnaurviat got the kind of call that every nonprofit hopes for. It was Senator Murkowski’s office personally notifying them that they were one of the entities awarded one of this year’s Department of Education – Alaska Native Education grants.
The program, which they call ANE at Yuut, has been a go-to source of funds for training programs for years. Yuut has received grants for everything from GED student programs to trades training to campus construction, which Operations Director Tiffany Tony notes was quite a coup. “I don’t think anyone has ever gotten them to fund construction before and it was what we needed to get our campus completed.”
This award has been particularly exciting for Yuut. Tony noted that, “The ANE program is highly competitive and they do not even award grants every year like they used to. We had such a great initiative this year and I am thrilled the reviewers liked our proposal as much as we did.”
The air of excitement at Yuut is palpable. The ANE investment is going to jump start a Bethel-based Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) Certificate Program. Yuut staff worked with former AVTEC LPN instructor Alexis Klaproth during proposal development in order to come up with a streamlined pathway to this high-demand career. The planned prerequisites can be completed in a single semester or, and this is what has everyone so excited, they can all be done by students while still in high school. The LPN Certificate itself should only take a year to complete and there are very high paying LPN jobs right here in Bethel. “We can have students making incredibly high wages a year out of high school! What could be better than that?”
Gerald Hodges, Director of the YKHC Elder’s Home, hires most of the LPNs in the region and finds it difficult to keep his facility fully staffed. He has committed to facilitating much of the clinical portion of both CNA and LPN programs and could not be more excited about the prospect of more local hire in these hard-to-fill, well-paying jobs.
When asked about the new program Hodges stated, “YK Elders Home is excited to have the LPN program back in Bethel. Six of the eight nurses who provide direct care for our Elders are LPNs. Many of our Licensed Nurses started out as Certified Nursing Assistants then went on the LPN school. Two of our current RN’s are enrolled in the UAA Registered Nurse course and will be graduating this spring. LPNs are the background of our nursing corp and being able to be involved in training new LPNs will make the quality of care we provide even better.”
He also went on to state, “Another benefit of having LPN students in Bethel and working on their clinicals is the interaction they will have with our CNAs. In my past, I have seen how working with LPN students encourages CNA’s to enroll in nursing school. I am looking forward to seeing our current Alaskan Native CNAs being encouraged in the same fashion. The LPN course will play a key role in the long term development of the Alaska Native nursing team.”
Follow Yuut Elitnaurviat on Facebook and check the website www.yuut.org for information and updates on this new training program.