Those hoping to train in a new field are faced with numerous challenges rising unit fees, book cost, limited space in classes.This month, Cañada College in Redwood City is launching a free medical administrative assistant certificate program. Originally limited to 30 students, the grant-funded program will run over two semesters. Totally free to those accepted, students will leave prepared for the testing required to apply for jobs in the growing field.I think it’s just a wonderful opportunity, Linda Hayes, dean of Cañada’s Workforce Division said.
The program covers fees, textbooks and material fees. It provides students the training to get started in a front office position and possibly start earning a livable wage. Once a person is employed, he or she can return and cover the costs thanks to the new salary or financial aid for back office training, said Hayes.
You can keep developing those skills to climb the ladder, said Hayes.Jeri Eznekier, who is coordinating the program, explained interest has been high. About 200 people inquired about the program and 85 applied, she said.So many people need retraining, said Eznekier.Getting a medical assistant position isn’t as simple as applying. Eznekier explained many offices require a number of tests to be completed before a candidate will be considered. Through the program, students will have access to classes that will help in those areas.Students will be learning medical terminology, math needed for dosages and, if needed, writing development.With limited space, the program expanded to start with 38 people Tuesday, Jan. 17. Students will take between 14.5 units to 18.5 units per semester as a group depending on their skill level.It’s not easy; it’s accelerated. These students can all succeed if they put the time in, Hayes said.
Hayes is optimistic the program can be duplicated starting this fall if the funding continues. Given the need and interest, a database was created of those who were interested.
This isn’t the first time the college has offered free training. More than a year ago, English, accounting and different courses were offered in Menlo Park. Last year, thanks to a different grant, Cañada offered home energy retrofitting training. Despite the budget challenges, Hayes noted more and more people need job retraining. Hayes and her staff are always looking for new ways to meet those needs.