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Local senior living center receives state funding for CNA training

Assemblymember Jen Lunsford (D-135) presents check to St. Ann's Community CEO and President, Mike McRae
Jennifer Lunsford
Assemblymember Jen Lunsford (D-135) presents check to St. Ann's Community CEO and President, Mike McRae

The demand for nursing home staff still continues to outweigh the supply. In an effort to combat the shortage, a local senior living center received state funding to help boost that workforce.

Democratic Assemblymember Jennifer Lunsford, who represents the 135th District, which includes the towns of Webster, Penfield, East Rochester and Perinton, recently presented St. Ann’s Community in Cherry Ridge a check of $100,000 to train and recruit more certified nursing assistants and other related positions. 

“CNAs are really where we have the biggest problem labor wise, we simply don't have enough CNAs,” Lunsford said.

Lunsford has advocated for various health care reparations, including the safe staffing law, which mandates a safe nurse-to-patient ratio for hospitals and nursing homes. She said St. Ann’s previous success with staffing aligned with the state’s mission.

St. Ann’s launched its CNA training program in 2018, and trained approximately 50 CNAs within that first year, but COVID-19 forced the program into hiatus. 

“The grant that we're receiving is going to help us achieve our ability to reach more people in a shorter period of time,” said Mike McRae, president and CEO of St. Ann’s Community.

McRae said the goal of the program is to establish a long-term pipeline that will sustain the region’s health care needs.

“If we train 100 people, and 50 of them stay, that means 50 more are in the greater Rochester community providing great care,” McRae said.

Racquel Stephen is WXXI's health, equity and community reporter and producer. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Rochester and a master's degree in broadcasting and digital journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.