Kenosha County’s Brookside Care Center is now participating in a state program that offers educational support and cash incentives to successful certified nursing assistant applicants.
The WisCaregiver program provides free training to candidates, no-cost admission to be placed on the Wisconsin CNA registry, and the opportunity to receive a $500 retention bonus after six months of successful employment as a CNA at Brookside, said Brookside Administrator Lynda Bogdala.
While participating in the program, students can get on-the-job training at Brookside while studying to work as a CNA, Bogdala said.
“Brookside is pleased to be able to be a part of this program, which we hope will enhance our future direct-care workforce,” Bogdala said. “As a county facility, we are able to offer benefits beyond those available from other employers. WisCaregiver is another advantage that makes us an employer of choice.”
Brookside’s recent affiliation with WisCaregiver comes in addition to other employment incentives that County Executive Samantha Kerkman announced earlier this year.
Under a plan studied over several months and implemented in June, certified nursing assistant wages at Brookside were increased to a minimum of $17.10 per hour for existing staff who have been employed for at least a year. CNAs already earning that amount saw their wages increase to $19.13 per hour, and shift differential and weekend pay premiums were increased.
Referral bonuses of $400 to $500 are being offered to current employees who refer a new CNA who remains on the job for six months, while the newly hired CNA will receive a bonus of $200 to $250 (depending on full-time equivalent hours) after six months of employment.
“With the labor market still extremely tight, we’re taking these steps to attract and retain the staff we need to maintain our high standard of compassionate care,” Bogdala said.
Honored by national publications in recent years, Brookside is a 154-bed facility offering long-term skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation care. Its neighboring facility, Willowbrook Assisted Living, offers assisted living and respite stay services, with staff on site 24 hours a day and 24/7 on-call licensed nursing services.
More information about the facilities is available at brooksidecarecenter.com and willowbrookofkenosha.com. More details about the WisCaregiver program are at wiscaregivercna.com.