The College of Staten Island has just been awarded a $200,000 grant from the New York City-based Robin Hood Foundation to sustain its Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program, which recruits students from among the borough’s more economically challenged residents.
According to its Website, the Robin Hood Foundation “Targets poverty in New York City by finding and funding the best and most effective programs and partnering with them to maximize results.”
Dr. Hugo Kijne, Executive Director of CSI’s Office of Continuing Education and Professional Development, which administers the program, says that this grant marks the first time that the program will receive private funding.
The CNA program, which Kijne’s office has run since 2000, “is our flagship vocational training program,” Kijne explains. “We offer a high-quality program, and as a result, we have very high graduation and job placement rates. Both are over 90 percent. It’s a very important service to the Staten Island health care sector on the one hand, and on the other hand it’s also an important service to the economically disadvantaged on Staten Island.”
Kijne adds that the CNA program not only addresses a serious need for CNAs in the borough, but it also gives its graduates a chance at well-paying careers. “The wages are good, and usually within four to six months, they have a full-time job with benefits. The program really turns people’s lives around.”
Kijne states that this grant will fund four three-month classes, with the first class beginning in the spring. Each class contains 25 students, making a total of 100 students for the grant cycle. As a result of this funding, Kijne says that “the instructional costs are entirely covered, but there is also money for some administrative costs and student services, such as intake and job development.”