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Prospective Students

What does The Gateway-In Project© offer?

The Gateway-In Project© assists with:

  • Free training for individuals interested in becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant,  Home Health Aide, Activities Professional or  Service Coordinator.
  • Expense reimbursement for qualified training-related costs
  • Job placement assistance
  • Employment incentives*
  • Career advancement and continuing education opportunities
  • Internships for high school students*

*Note: All training programs under The Gateway-In Project© Health Care Social Worker and The Gateway-In Project© Expansion are not eligible for employment incentives or internships.

What are the requirements to participate?

Participants must meet the following requirements for each training program listed below.

Certified Nursing Assistant:

  • Must be at least sixteen (16) years of age
  • Must have valid identification (a birth certificate, state-issued ID, and/or driver’s license) and legal work status 
  • Social Security card of alternative documentation (ITIN)
  • Obtain criminal record clearance with a background check/fingerprinting
  • Health clearance by physical examination and negative TB Test Immunization/Health Records
  • Able to lift at least 30 lbs and conduct basic duties such as lifting, pulling, reaching, stooping, bending and walking/standing for long periods of time
  • Commitment to completing a CDPH (the California Department of Public Health) approved training program
  • Commitment to working with the aging population in long-term care for one year (hospital work not applicable)
  • COVID vaccination and booster may be required (varies by location)

Home Health Aide:

  • Must possess an active CNA license
  • Successfully complete 40 hours of CHHA training by a training program approved by the department of public health in California which includes a minimum of 160 knowledge and skills combined training
  • Must be at least sixteen (16) years of age
  • Obtain criminal record clearance
  • Provide valid identification: birth certificate, state-issued ID, or driver's license
  • Provide a valid social security card or ITIN card
  • Provide up-to-date immunization records which may include Covid-19
  • Health clearance by a physician.
  • Able to lift at least 30 lbs and conduct basic duties such as lifting, pulling, reaching, stooping, bending and walking/standing for long periods of time
  • Provide a negative TB test
  • Interest in providing care and services to the aging population of California
How much does it cost to participate?

There are no out-of-pocket fees for students enrolled in a training program. It is completely free as a grant subsidizes this program.

Students can also be reimbursed for qualifying expenses during training such as:

  • School-related costs such as uniforms, shoes, textbooks and supplies
  • Transportation costs
  • Childcare
  • Food
  • Housing
  • ESL services
  • Test preparation
  • Resume support

Please contact us if you have questions on what qualifies for reimbursement during the training program. 

What is my commitment?

All students participating in The Gateway-In Project© must commit to working in a home and community-based provider community for a minimum of one year after they have finished their training. Incentive bonuses for employment are offered at the 1st, 6th, and 12th months for those who remain actively employed following the completion of the training program.

The required number of training hours varies depending on the type of training a student wishes to pursue:

  • For the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program, it entails a minimum of 60 hours of theoretical instruction and 100 clinical hours of supervised hands-on training.
  • For the Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA) program, it involves at least 20 hours of theory and 100 clinical hours of supervised practical training.
  • For the Activities Professional or Service Coordinator programs, time commitments can range from 6 weeks to 6 months depending on modality, or full-time or part-time schedules. 

It's important to note that in many cases, individuals pursuing the CHHA program may first need to complete the CNA program and then complete an additional 40 hours of training to become a Certified Home Health Aide.

What is the enrollment process?

The enrollment process consists of 3 stages:

  1. Application Process
  2. Screening Process
  3. Training Program Matching

Application Process
Interested individuals must submit a completed application to be considered for any of the following training programs:

– Certified Nursing Assistant*
– Home Health Aide*
– Activities Professional
– Services Coordinator

The applications can be found here. Upon receiving an application, our staff will communicate the application status to the applicants via email. It’s important to note that not all applications will be approved, as approvals are contingent on factors such as space availability, training location, and student qualifications.

*Note: There are a few different programs for this training.

Screening Process
Prospective student applications will be reviewed by staff. If the applications meet all the qualifications and there is available space for classes within reasonable travel distance from the applicant’s home, staff will contact students for an interview. In cases where the application falls short of qualifications or if there are no available spaces within the timeframe the student can commit to or in nearby locations, students will be contacted via email and placed on a waiting list. The screening process can take approximately 2-4 weeks, and the duration may vary due to the individual needs and different processes in various training programs.   programs have different processes. 

Training Program Matching Process
Students who successfully pass the screening process and complete a phone interview will be matched with a training program. Upon enrollment in a training program, students will receive an acceptance letter along with necessary information to begin their course.


How can I get reimbursed for expenses I had during training?

The Gateway-In Project© can provide students with financial support for certain expenses incurred during their training. Students must submit a reimbursement request form within a 30-day window following their graduation. For more information on what expenses are eligible and how to submit for reimbursement, click here.

How do I follow up on the status of my CNA license after I take the exam?

The Gateway-In Project© recommends checking with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) for license status.

To check the status of your CNA license, click here. Please wait 30 days before contacting The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) for an update.

If you need to contact CDPH, find their general contact information here.  

You can also call them directly at (916) 327-2445. The phone line will prompt you to input your social security number and the automatic system will inform you if you are certified or not. This is the phone number that employers will call to check as well.

Please be aware that we cannot check the status of your CNA license, apart from the publicly available resources mentioned earlier. It is your responsibility to verify this information. If you require guidance in navigating this process, feel free to contact your Coordinator for assistance.

Do you offer job referrals and placement assistance?

Yes! The Gateway-In Project© offers an array of tools and resources to help you land a job after graduation. Learn more.

  • Request assistance: The Gateway-In Project© CNA & HHA graduates can request LeadingAge California staff to connect graduates with employer partners to arrange job interviews. Contact us to learn more.
  • Online Career Center: Graduates from all programs can utilize the Online Career Center at no cost! Search job openings, upload your resume for a free review and get career advice in our Career Center.
  • Career Fairs: The Gateway-In Project© hosts career fairs throughout California to help connect graduates with employers. Be on the lookout for upcoming locations in the monthly graduate e-newsletter or visit our upcoming events page!
Are there any bonus incentives available once I am employed?

This incentive is only available to graduates from The Gateway-In Project© CNA & HHA program. As part of this grant, graduates of The Gateway-In Project© CNA & HHA, you may qualify for cash retention bonuses after meeting employment criteria. See criteria and bonus offers here

Do you offer any continuing education after graduation?

Yes! The Gateway-In Project© provides a variety of opportunities to further your learning by offering incentives to students who wish to expand their knowledge. Not only are the courses free, but you can also earn as you learn. Learn more here.

How do I qualify for an employment retention bonus?

To be eligible for a bonus, you must:
1. Have graduated from a training program funded by The Gateway-In Project©
2. Have proof of your CNA certification from the California Department of Public Health
3. Be employed as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Home Health Aide (HHA) at a long-term care Home and Community-Based Services Provider in California
4. Be able to provide proof of consecutive paystubs
5. Have a signed Student Agreement Form on file

What is a Home and Community Based Services Provider (HCBS)?
A long-term care HCBS Provider is a care provider that helps the older adult population with care, either in a facility or at home. Examples are:
  • Skilled Nursing Facility / Post-Acute Nursing Facility
  • Continued Care Retirement Community
  • Assisted Living
  • Memory Care
  • Residential Care Facility for the Elderly
  • Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly
  • Adult Day Health Center for Seniors
  • Home Health and Hospice Agencies
Can I get the bonus if I work through a registry?

No, you have to be an employee of a HCBS facility or agency. Working for a registry, staffing agency or any independent contractor position will not qualify for our grant's employment bonus.

Can I get the bonus if I work for a private pay client, a rehab, or in a hospital?

Due to our grant's focus on long-term healthcare for our senior citizens, a job in a hospital, acute medical clinic, doctor’s office, substance abuse rehabilitation center, mental health facility, or a private pay client will not qualify for an employment retention bonus.

What if I work as a caregiver or another position for a long-term care HCBS Provider?

While it is great to be employed in long-term care in any position, only a job title of CNA or HHA will qualify for the employment retention bonuses.

Do I need to work full-time to qualify for an employment bonus?

No, you do not have to be a full-time employee. The Gateway-In Project© does not have a requirement of how little or how much you need to work to qualify. You can work full-time, part-time, or on-call/per diem. As long as you have a paystub to show you are employed there, your schedule does not affect the bonus.

When do we get these bonuses?

Our program gives employment bonuses when you meet the eligibility requirements and have been working for 1 month (30 days), 6 months, and then 12 months.

How long does the bonus take to receive?

Once you submit a correct and accurate bonus form, staff will review the form within 7 business days. You will be notified once your bonus request is approved. Then, payment can take anywhere from 30-60 days after it is approved. Please wait 60 days before reaching out to staff for an update.

Is a bonus and incentive the same thing?

Yes – these terms are interchangeable. You will sometimes see ‘employment bonus’ or ‘employment incentive’. These both refer to the (3) $500 bonuses we give for being employed.

Training Partners

Are there prerequisites for becoming a training site?

If you intend to partner with us for theory hours and a clinical site, your training program must obtain approval from the California Department of Public Health. However, if your interest is solely in becoming a clinical site, we will collaborate with you on an individual basis and assist in submitting an application, using one of our established training programs to include you as a clinical site.

Are there additional potential barriers or specific sites we're seeking?

This opportunity is open to everyone. However, our primary focus is on addressing the needs of underserved and underrepresented areas in California. To ensure even distribution, we aim to avoid concentrating too many training sites in one specific region. Our goal is to cover a wide geographic area in California with accessible training sites. We recognize that transportation can be a challenge, so we want to ensure that students receive training and placements in their local areas.

As this is free program, what does this mean for the provider and how do wraparound services work?

For providers, our primary goal is to train, certify, and prepare as many CNAs and HHAs as possible for placement in your communities. Your main responsibility is to inform us of your needs so we can facilitate placements.

The unique aspect of this program is the inclusion of wraparound services. These services are designed to remove barriers that might otherwise prevent certain communities from participating in this training. By covering expenses like childcare and transportation, we aim to eliminate obstacles that could deter individuals from joining this training. Our hope is that by offering these wraparound services and tuition-free courses, we can make it possible for more people to enter the workforce and contribute to the solution.

What is the maximum amount that a training site can avail for CNAs?

We will establish individual contracts with each training site, and the specific funding amount will be determined as part of those contract discussions. Additionally, our wraparound services will be tailored to each student's specific needs. The allocation of students to particular sites will depend on their geographic location and the training site's proximity to them. We haven't set specific maximum or minimum funding amounts. We aim for a 1-15 student-to-course ratio to ensure cost-effectiveness.

If a student experiences a 'site-mismatch,' will efforts be made to place them elsewhere as part of the retention plan?

We'll make every effort to ensure a good fit initially. If it's determined that the placement isn't suitable, we'll collaborate with the student and job placement sites to ensure everyone is content and appropriately reassigned.

We've seen a decline in CNA program interest and higher scholarship recipient drop-out rates. Any ideas to address these challenges?

Our marketing strategy involves dedicated staff actively recruiting students through different channels and at various events, with their main focus on student recruitment. Additionally, we've set up coaching services to address potential drop-off issues. If a student shows signs of not completing the course, our coaches will step in to identify and resolve the issue, reducing drop-out rates.

Furthermore, we're collecting comprehensive demographic data, including socio-economic and geographic information, as well as program duration. This data will be used for research and analysis to identify any missed indicators or issues we could have addressed. It will also help us determine the effectiveness of our wraparound services and any additional support required.

If a student completes the CNA program and wants to pursue HHA, would you cover the cost?

Yes, we understand there are multiple pathways to becoming an HHA. You can either enroll in a program that directly trains you as an HHA, or you can first become a CNA and then complete the additional 40 hours of training to become a certified HHA. Our program will cover the expenses for both of these options.

Currently, CDPH mandates in-person training. Can we seek approval for online training as well?

This is a separate approval process. If you've already received approval for an in-person training program and want to add online theory hours, you'll need to follow a different procedure. Some of our partners have successfully navigated this process, but if you're an existing site considering it, please explore the specific steps involved.

Will CPR classes be offered to students for those who need it?

We don't provide CPR classes as part of our program, but students who wish to take them may have the opportunity to have the cost covered, depending on their specific wraparound service requirements

Aside from tuition, does The Gateway-In Project© provide support for student employment during training?

We would need to collaborate with our provider members on this matter. When we proposed this program to the state, it was designed to cover tuition and wraparound services for students, without discussing employment during the training program. While offering employment support may be appealing to students, it's not a feature we currently provide or require.

Can a social model adult day program serve as a training site, and is there a minimum student requirement?

A suitable training site would either employ CNAs and HHAs or have the capacity to train them. If you're an Adult Day Care program or a site that doesn't utilize CNAs or HHAs, this program may not align with your needs. Any organization that involves CNAs or HHAs in some capacity can potentially become a partner.

Can Assisted Living and Memory Care facilities be used as partners or training sites for the internship?

We can incorporate assisted living and memory care as internship placements if you are open to the idea. Regarding training sites, if you don't already have an established training program, there are certain steps we'll need to follow, and we may need to partner you with an existing training program.

Do wraparound services include Livescan services and immunization (MMR, Hep B, COVID, etc.) if needed?

The cap for wraparound services is determined by each student's specific and urgent needs. For instance, if a student requires additional daycare support that exhausts their allocated amount, we will explore options for additional funding. It's important to note that wraparound services are not individually itemized in the reimbursements. However, the cost of certification is clearly outlined in the reimbursements, and we cover that expense.

Job Placement Partners

Do you offer retention bonuses?

Yes. Our objective is to establish a pipeline of workers in the Home & Community Based Services field and guarantee their continued commitment. Through The Gateway-In Project CNA & HHA grant, we have the capability to track the student’s progress throughout an entire year. Consequently, upon successful completion of training, certification and job placement, we offer retention bonuses of up to $1500 per person to encourage job retention. These bonuses are distributed at various milestones, including 1-month, 6-month, and 12-month marks of continuous employment.

What partnerships are being put in place with community colleges at state and local levels?

We're collaborating with local community colleges to assess their training offerings. Typically, localized trainings require a minimum number of students to proceed, which can be a hurdle. With this project, we're partnering with our provider members and other training partners, allowing students to complete theory hours online from anywhere in California. This broadens our capacity to offer training and recruit enough students to form cohorts for the hands-on clinical training, something that some community colleges have struggled with. As a state-funded program, it relieves students of financial burdens, creating a mutually beneficial opportunity for community colleges and our project to join forces.

Training and provider sites will receive tuition payments directly, and students will not be billed for tuition. We'll contract with training sites for reimbursements, while students will be compensated with stipends for wraparound services. The state sets a specific tuition amount for a class of 15, which training sites can charge more if they choose. This state-designated amount is based on surveys we've conducted to determine the average tuition. Wraparound service payments, such as daycare, will be directed to service providers, and our project manager will ensure proper distribution. The only direct cash students will receive is in the form of incentive bonuses aimed at retaining them in the program.

Are you advocating for higher pay for these underpaid positions, considering the challenge of retaining staff due to low compensation and high stress?

Yes, we are actively advocating for improved pay and benefits for CNAs, HHAs, and other professionals serving older adults in housing care and services. You can view advocacy efforts here.

Will mentors or supervisors at job placement sites participate in training sessions alongside students or employees, such as empathy and cultural competence training?

We don't have plans for job placement sites to undergo the same training as the students. However, our managers will maintain communication and collaboration with the placement sites while students are in the program. This helps us prepare a placement strategy for students once they complete their certification.

As for empathy and cultural competency training, it is currently available exclusively for students. These training options serve as incentives for students, and if they choose to pursue these additional, non-mandatory courses, they will receive stipends.

We already provide a retention bonus to our employees. Can we offer this in addition to the incentives provided by the program?

Yes, we will continue to offer the incentive bonus to all students who complete this program. Students will remain eligible for retention and incentive bonuses for up to a year.