Students at work in the LearnMore nurse assistant training program. Photo courtesy of LearnMore.

Thanks in part to a $120,000 grant, the Nile Sisters Development Initiative Thursday expanded LearnMore, a vocational nurse assistant training program to help underserved communities prepare for in- demand health care careers.

According to the local displaced-persons-focused nonprofit, the grant was provided by The San Diego Foundation COVID-19 Community Response Fund, and will allow the program to offer classes and academic support services to attract and train students who will go on to provide health care to vulnerable people in San Diego County.

It will also allow LearnMore to track students and provide career training services to ensure all students obtain their California certification and become employed. According to the nonprofit, students from LearnMore’s existing classes are serving in critical areas in healthcare facilities throughout San Diego County.

To date, San Diego Gas & Electric has donated $2 million to the community response fund with plans to contribute an additional million in 2021.

“There are several communities of concern in San Diego that are struggling with unemployment issues created due to the pandemic,” said Eugene Mitchell, SDG&E’s vice president of state governmental and external affairs. “Several hospitals and care facilities have a nursing shortage and this program helps match talent to opportunity and offers a career path for those who need these educational resources the most.”

Nile Sisters launched the career-training school in July of 2020. The program was intended to be an accelerated nurse assistant training course.

“Everyone is welcome at LearnMore. Our mission is to build a thriving, culturally diverse workforce,” said Elizabeth Lou, Nile Sisters’ founder and executive director. “We are especially focused on those in hard-to- reach and underrepresented populations who want to develop new skills for in- demand and rewarding healthcare careers.”

The program’s most recent class had immigrant students from all over the world, including Nigeria, Myanmar, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Mexico and Latin America.

Current course offerings include three schedules: a 22-day weekday and 44-day weeknight course, and a 22-day weekend course. Courses provide 60 theory and lab instruction hours, and 100 clinical instruction hours through the program’s clinical partners.

— City News Service

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