Retraining Blue Collar Workers

The New York Times reported an interesting trend of nursing homes hiring blue collar workers to the ranks of their nursing staff.   The article by Tess Vigeland reported a current trend of factory, warehouse, and auto-industry workers, laid off as their companies went abroad, filling vacant positions as male nurses in retirement homes.  

The state of Michigan reported a shortage in nurses will reach 18,000 workers by 2015.  It appears the labor force is adapting to fill this vacuum.  Institutions such as Oakland University in Rochester, Massachusetts have designed programs specifically to retrain members of the labor force seeking a career shift into the nursing profession. The College of Nursing and Wayne State University in Detroit has reported large numbers of former manufacturing workers entering their program.

The Federal Trade and Readjustment Actassists workers who lose their jobs due to foreign competition.  The Trade and Readjustment Act provides tuition for workers to participate in retraining programs such as the nursing school at Wayne State University. Retraining time is determined by the level of nursing the student wishes to pursue. Workers seeking a career change have their pick among levels of nursing requiring training lasting as long as 4 years to 8 months.  

There is a high rate of applicants being turned away from training programs becuase lack of faculty and class room space. It would appear the demand for nurses is as high as the demand for training. The workers are here to meet the shortage but schools cannot accommodate them fast enough. Where the shortage of nurses is projected to reach 500,000 by 2015, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports a total of 67,000 applicants turned away in 2010 due to the shortage of training programs. This is unfortunate as male RNs, CNAs, and LPNs are called a “hot commodity” at retirement across the United States. As the percentage of male nurses has only risen to 9.6% since 2000, men seeking a new career in nursing can be assured to find a new career on the spot.
 

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