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Leveraging Partnerships to Meet In-Demand Workforce Needs

Local First Arizona is developing an essential pipeline to train nursing talent in rural Arizona.

Investing in Talent for Tomorrow

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“Taking the Creative Care CNA class impacted my career by giving me a chance to see what I want for my future. I was previously looking into RN programs but wasn’t sure about my next career step. This class helped me take the first step towards my future career path.”
– Student in CNA Certification Program at Creative Care

41% & 31%

Turnover rate for CNAs & RNs (in 2019)

The Challenge

Local First Arizona identified that there is a shortage of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in the assisted living industry across rural Arizona, specifically for this collaborative, Local First Arizona focused on Mohave County. Meeting with employers, root causes identified as contributing factors in the shortage include: 1) the inability for the local community college to offer its CNA license training program due to COVID-19; 2) high turnover, largely due to new hires not fully understanding the role and responsibilities. Of the facilities surveyed on the talent shortage, they forecasted a need for more than 65 CNA positions to be filled over the course of the next 24 months.

Locally, Creative Care Assisted Living provided training services to future employees at their facility. This allowed them to develop their talent pipeline on a small scale while providing invaluable insight for expectations to trainees. There were significant costs associated with this training if the candidates were not already certified. Costs included staff time to train, paying the new employees to take the training and other resources that were needed. Due to these costs, Creative Care Assisted Living was limited in their ability to only provide training for their own candidates, rather than utilizing the facility and program to enhance the talent pipeline for all of Mohave County.

The Solution

With many COVID restrictions having been lifted in the state, Local First Arizona reached out to the local workforce board to see if the *Eligible Trainer Provider List (ETPL) would be a good programmatic fit for the training that Creative Care was already providing.

Creative Care is licensed through the State Nursing Board to provide CNA training and therefore, qualified for the ETPL. Through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) Strategy 5, Local First Arizona connected Creative Care to the local workforce board and within about a month, they were approved for the ETPL. As a result, Creative Care is now being paid per trainee that completes their CNA training course. This includes individuals that Creative Care hires and anyone who is interested in attaining their CNA license, creating a talent pipeline for assisted living facilities, in-home care companies, and hospitals, among other businesses across Mohave County.

In addition to financial backing, being registered on the ETPL also gives on-site exposure to the available roles at Creative Care to a new network of job seekers. The training will provide job seekers with their CNA license and insight into what a role with Creative Care or an assisted living facility will look like post-training.

*Eligible Training Provider List: The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires states to maintain a list of training providers and programs eligible for WIOA Title I-B Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth Program funds (out-of-school youth only). This list is the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL) and includes training provider and training program-specific information such as program descriptions, prerequisites, program costs, credential descriptions, labor market and wage information for the related occupations, and performance data which allows individuals who are approved for training services to make an informed consumer choice.
Local First Arizona Training

Key Partnerships

Local First Arizona partnered with critical partners to connect state financial resources
to those providing eligible training. Partnerships include:

Creative Care Assisted Living
Arizona@Work Mohave La/Paz


Staff turnover in senior living, particularly among nurse staff, is high due to the lack of resources provided to staff and the quality of their work environment. The most common challenges cited are:

Low Wages and Benefits
Physical Demands of the Job
Strained Workplace Communication
Broader Unemployment Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated all of these challenges. From record unemployment rates in the U.S., to the demands of caregiving in a community facing a COVID-19 outbreak, the CNA strain — and continued shortage — was deeply felt in 2020. Many decided to leave their high-risk jobs and collect unemployment instead, according to an NPR report.

Lessons Learned

One concern that was raised during the initial planning phase was that the State Nursing Board wouldn’t let an assisted living facility charge individuals for training. Since the training will be paid for through ETPL and not the student learner, Creative Care was able to pursue this model to subsidize training costs.

Is This a Repeatable Model?

This is repeatable across all states. Utilizing the ETPL through the Department of Workforce Services, assisted living facilities that are certified to train employees for their CNA license qualify with the state to
teach and certify individuals and therefore, qualify for ETPL.

What Are the Program Results?

High school seniors taking college coursework through a career-readiness program who were unable to complete clinical hours to attain their CNA license during the school year due to COVID, will be a part of the first cohort of trainees Creative Care will host as an ETPL site. The cohort is scheduled to start in June 2021 and a total of eight participants will be completing the program.

To gauge success, Local First Arizona will track:

  • Retention rates for those who go through ETPL with Creative Care and then get hired on as full-time employees
  • Rates of those who complete ETPL through Creative Care and go on to become a CNA at an assisted living facility

To learn more about Local First Arizona, visit


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