SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The six simulators inside Springfield Technical Community College's new CNA laboratory give students more hands-on training for a career in the health care field.

.What You Need To Know

  • STCC has opened a new Certified Nurse Assistant Laboratory with six patient simulators

  • The $2 million dollar project was funded by the college along with the Massachusetts TRAIN and High Demand Workforce Training Grant

  • At least 80 students will have an opportunity to receive full tuition, books and tools deemed necessary to complete the CNA Plus program

  • Students who complete the CNA Plus program can be immediately placed at areas medical, assisted living facilities and more

On Wednesday morning, the campus hosted a ribbon cutting for the $2 million project. The goal of the Certified Nurse Assistant Plus program is to address the work shortage for health care jobs in the region.

"It's not just realistic, it is authentic," said STCC President John Cook. "And I think that makes a difference and that's been one of the college calling cards. If you're a health care employee to be, if you're in a health care training program, you're going to be in a simulation environment." 

Money from the Massachusetts TRAIN program and High Demand Workforce Training Grant will allow at least 80 students to receive full tuition, books and other tools needed to complete the CNA Plus program.

Marianna Santiago is a first year student at the college who’s looking forward to having a better opportunity support those in need.

"We definitely do need more CNAs in health care field because a lot of people and elderly people do need our help," Santiago said. "And to stand by them to just give them the care we would want from our family."

According to STCC, more than 500 CNA jobs are posted in the region every year, so it’s important to encourage people to fill those positions.

Juan Trinidad is a member of the YouthBuild program, a nonprofit supporting young people between the ages of 16-24 through career and educational opportunities. Trinidad plans to enroll in the spring semester and has a long-term goal of being an EMT. He said this kind of training will better prepare him for a career in health care.

"Because they teach us how to be CNA workers," said Trinidad. "And if you want to get into the medical field, it's a great place to start out at and having them open this up for us is a great learning opportunity."

The school said students who complete the CNA Plus program can be directly placed into jobs at area medical or assisted living facilities or be able to work with visiting health care services for in-home positions.