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In 2023, LeadingAge California introduced The Gateway-In Project© Health Care Social Worker as a response to the shortage of social workers in the Home and Community-Based Services sector. The project aims to address the growing workforce demand caused by the increasing number of older adults, particularly those aged 65 and above, in California. According to the Department of Finance in California, there are currently six million adults in this age group, and this number is expected to reach nine million by 2030. Consequently, it is crucial to provide support, particularly for the mental health and overall well-being of older adults, while assisting them in navigating the healthcare system. 

To implement The Gateway-In Project© for Health Care Social Workers, LeadingAge California secured a grant of over $8 million from CalGROWS. The project’s primary objective is to enroll and educate up to:

  • 300 Service Coordinators
  • 300 Activities Professionals
  • 620 Certified Nursing Assistants

A key focus of the program is to support students from marginalized communities. It offers financial assistance for participants pursuing certification to become a Service Coordinator, Activities Professional, or Certified Nursing Assistant. This support extends to cover costs related to childcare, transportation, food, textbooks, and necessary program supplies. By providing these wrap-around supports, the program aims to cultivate a qualified and dedicated workforce capable of fulfilling a crucial role within interdisciplinary teams.  These teams are responsible for delivering comprehensive care tailored to the specific needs of aging adults. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Gateway-In Project©: Health Care Social Worker?

The Gateway-In Project©: Health Care Social Worker is a collaborative effort between LeadingAge California and CalGROWs to provide training for those looking to start their career in older adult care. Our training programs include certification tracks for becoming a Service Coordinator, Activities Professionals/Activities Director, or a Certified Nursing Assistant.

What positions does The Gateway-In Project©: Health Care Social Worker provide training for?

The Gateway-In Project©: Health Care Social Worker provides training for those who would like to become Certified Nursing Assistants, Service Coordinators, or Activity Professionals/Activity Directors.

What is a Service Coordinator and can you tell me more about the training program?

A Service Coordinator is a staff person hired or contracted by an assisted housing owner or its management company to foster an environment in which elderly persons and persons with disabilities can live independently and remain in their communities. A service coordinator helps residents to access services available in the community, and designs programs and services to meet the needs and desires of the property’s residents. 

How long is the program?
The Service Coordinator program is 38.75 hours of self-paced online training.

What do I need to enroll?
Two years’ experience in social services or a related health care field includes, but is not limited to, case management, senior activities programming, long-term services and supports, health and wellness programming, adult and/or child daycare programming, service acquisition, non-profit programming, and/or administration.  Additionally, candidates with an Associate's, Bachelor's or other advanced degree in social services or a related health care field may count that degree as two years of employment experience providing proof of their degree by submitting a transcript, copy of diploma or letter from the academic institution.

What do I get after I complete the program?
After successfully completing the program, you are eligible to receive a Certificate of Completion for the Professional Service Coordinator designation from the American Association of Service Coordinators.

What is an Activity Director/Activity Professional and can you tell me more about the training program?

An Activity Professional is dedicated to creating meaningful life enrichment opportunities for individuals within elder care. A standard definition of “activities” in long-term care refers to any endeavor other than routine Activities of Daily Living, or “ADLs,” in which the person participates. These activities are intended to enhance a sense of well-being and promote the physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being of the person.

How long is the program?

The entire program is 126 hours of online study, including both instructor-led lessons and independent study.

  • The first phase of the program will be foundational modules for Activity Professionals. This will be a total of 90 hours and includes an exam for the Activity Professional Certification.
  • The second phase of the program will provide the knowledge and skills to effectively manage and lead an activity department and staff. This will be a total of 36 hours and includes an exam for the Activity Director Certification.

All students will be eligible for the Activity Directory Certification but their individual work experience prior to enrollment will determine if they are eligible to take the Activity Director Certification upon the completion of the program. Students must have at least two years of healthcare experience before taking the Activity Director Certification.

What do I need to start training?

A GED or High School Diploma is required. Two years of experience working in healthcare is recommended. One of those years must be in Activities and/or Enrichment. The two years of experience may be within the last five years before they enroll. Or the student may go through the Activity Director Certification program then hold the Activities Professional Certification until they gain the required two years of experience and apply for a level change.  

The program is open to individuals interested in beginning their career as an Activities Professional and current Activities Professionals looking to further develop their skills and advance their career. The program does not offer separate tracks based on each student’s experience. However, based on a student’s experience prior to enrolling their eligibility for certification may take longer.

What do I get after I complete the program?
After successfully completing the program, you are eligible to receive an Activity Professional Certification and Activity Director Certification from the National Certification Council for Activity Professionals.

All students will be eligible for the Activity Directory Certification but their individual work experience prior to enrollment will determine if they are eligible to take the Activity Director Certification upon the completion of the program. Students must have at least two years of healthcare experience before taking the Activity Director Certification.

A student may go through the Activity Director Certification program then hold the Activities Professional Certification until they gain the required two years of experience and apply for a level change. 

What is a Certified Nursing Assistant and can you tell me more about the training program?

CNAs have many responsibilities that make them an integral part of the patient process in healthcare. While being a CNA is often considered an entry-level position, it is a great steppingstone to other healthcare professions. Being a CNA can help prepare you for nursing or healthcare management work in many ways and is a fantastic place to start your career. There are many duties for nursing assistants. A certified nursing assistant helps patients with direct health care needs, often under the supervision of a nurse.

How long is the program?
The CNA program is 72.5 hours of self-paced online training and 115-120 hours of in-person clinical training.


What do I need to enroll?
For the CNA program, no experience is required for this entry-level certification. Only a high school diploma or GED is needed.

What do I get after I complete the program?
After successfully completing the program, graduates are eligible to receive a fully signed certificate of completion from your school; they will be eligible to sit for the National Nurse Aide Assistant Program Exam and earn a Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate.

What are wrap-around services?

How much can I be paid back?
Each student is individually budgeted up to $3,000 in wrap-around dollars.

What is reimbursement?
Reimbursement is financial support to cover the expenses you incur while participating in The Gateway-In Project©: Health Care Social Worker. Reimbursement is provided after successful completion of the program.

What can I get reimbursed for?
You can be reimbursed for school-related expenses such as uniforms, shoes, textbooks, or supplies. Transportation or travel costs, childcare, housing, or food. You can also be reimbursed for test preparation or resume support as well. Just ask our staff and we’ll let you know if your request does or does not qualify for reimbursement.

What is the Learn and Earn Program?

The Learn and Earn Program from CalGrows is an initiative that allows qualified individuals to attend additional online training courses where they can earn up to an extra $6,000. For more information and to find out if you qualify, visit the Learn and Earn Program website.

What is my commitment to The Gateway-In Project©: Health Care Social Worker?

All students must sign a Student Agreement verifying their commitment to completing the program, complete a survey prior to training, and another survey after graduation from the program.

How long is the program?

Please refer to one of the three program tracks above in this FAQ (Service Coordinator, Activity Professional or Certified Nursing Assistant) for specific time commitments.

Can I join more than one certification program?

Students may only participate in one certification program.

I have participated previously in The Gateway-In Project© program. May I join this one?

The Gateway-In Project©: Health Care Social Worker is open to graduates of The Gateway-In Project©. However, a student may not participate in both programs concurrently.

What happens if I quit or I’m dropped by my school?

If you decide to drop your class, we request that you give us notice in writing within six days of the start of your first class.

If you fail to complete the program, you may, upon approval by both LeadingAge California and your school, choose to retake the course within 30 days. After 30 days, you may not be eligible for reenrollment.

Failure to meet and honor the requirements listed in the Student Agreement will result in reimbursement fees being forfeited. You will be responsible for repayment of program costs. LeadingAge California will not be responsible for any tuition and reimbursement of participants who fail to meet program requirements and complete the program.

Can a relative watch my child and you pay them?

No. It must be a certified daycare.

Can I purchase a computer and have The Gateway-In Project©: Health Care Social Worker refund me?

We do not currently provide reimbursements for computers. 

I have already started classes. Can I join the program now?

No, you must register for The Gateway-In Project©: Health Care Social Worker prior to starting school.

Meet the Staff

Abdullah Rahim
Director
The Gateway-In Project© Health Care Social Worker
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Melissa Leal
Manager
The Gateway-In Project© Health Care Social Worker
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Shenise Arthur
Manager
The Gateway-In Project© Health Care Social Worker
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Mohammad Tarin
Outreach Coordinator
The Gateway-In Project© Health Care Social Worker
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Christina Su
Outreach Coordinator
The Gateway-In Project© Health Care Social Worker 
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Haylee Slusser
Digital Media Specialist
The Gateway-In Project© Health Care Social Worker
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