It can be a struggle for caregiver employers to find competent, caring individuals trained to meet the needs of their senior or disabled clients. UNLV Continuing Education has positioned its Personal Care Aide (PCA) Certificate Program to meet the growing demand for personal care services. UNLV Continuing Education, through Nevada’s Apprenticeship Project, has received approval from the Department of Labor for its PCA program to participate as a registered apprenticeship program. Employers now will have a comprehensive, effective method for training new staff in the essential skills and work ethic needed for success as a personal care aide.
"Due to the hands-on nature of the job and a shortage of available professionals, the Personal Care Aide program is ideal for the apprenticeship project," said Jodi Gilliland, program coordinator with UNLV Continuing Education. “Registered apprenticeship is a solution to build a competitive workforce. It can also be integrated into existing training and human resources development strategies.”
UNLV’s curriculum emphasizes disease and injury prevention, nutrition strategies, care team coordination, communication, and ethical responsibility. Since personal care aides often work with vulnerable populations, professional ethics are emphasized throughout the curriculum. Apprentices learn how to keep accurate records, spot and report concerns, and provide value-added service.
Here’s how the apprenticeship program works for employers. PCA apprentice applicants are screened and hired by area employers. Applicants selected as a good fit complete 100 hours of personal care aide education, plus training in effective communication and report writing. Tuition for this portion of the training is covered by Workforce Connection partner agencies or Nevada’s Apprenticeship Project.
After successful completion of the classroom and orientation requirements, new personal care aides transition into their paid apprenticeship with their partnering employer. On average, PCAs will work up to six months as an apprentice before transitioning to regular employee status. Employers are eligible to participate in salary reimbursement subsidies up to 50% of hourly wages during that time, which is an added benefit for employers to onboard new personal care aides.
"Registered apprenticeship is a win-win for both employers and employees. Employers benefit by having a well-trained workforce while employees gain the competence, confidence, and support to perform the job," said Gilliland.
Employers interested in being a personal care aide partner are invited to meet with UNLV Continuing Education to discuss the funding process and logistics. Please contact Gilliland at 702-895-5099 or firstname.lastname@example.org.