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Now enrolling for CNA & HHA training throughout California! Learn More

Prospective Students

What does The Gateway-In Project© offer?

The Gateway-In Project© assists with:

  • Free training and certification for individuals interested in becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant and/or Home Health Aide
  • Expense reimbursement for qualified training-related costs
  • Job placement assistance
  • Employment incentives
  • Career advancement and continuing education opportunities
  • Internships for high school students
What are the requirements to participate?

Participants must meet the following requirements:

  •  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)
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.

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 a CNA and/or HHA training program. The application can be found here. Once an application has been received, our staff will contact applicants by email with a student information packet and schedule a day and time to move forward with the screening process.

Screening Process
Prospective students will be interviewed by phone to verify information, interest, commitment and employment expectations. Information will also be collected to assist in matching with training programs based on the student's location, needs, learning style and accommodations. The screening process can take approximately 2-4 weeks and will vary as individual needs and training programs have different processes. 

Training Program Matching Process
Students who have completed the screening process and are eligible for training will be matched with partnering training program options. Once a training program has been selected, the student will receive all training documentation including a checklist, handbook and acceptance letter. 

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

What are the incentive amounts paid to the students?

The availability of incentives varies depending on the specific program or purpose. We have a set cap on the incentives, and we continuously monitor their utilization to identify areas where they prove most effective in keeping people on the right track.

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.