Members of the Minnesota National Guard have a new mission. Hundreds of guard soldiers across Minnesota are training so they can lend a hand at long term care facilities around the state.
"It's the things that we do for ourselves everyday like just getting up, getting dressed, individuals might need help with showers or help with feeding, they help get people transferred safely from their bed to their wheelchair," said Laura Cleveland, Director of Customized Training at Anoka Technical College.
It's the same curriculum those enrolled in the nursing assistant program at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and the Anoka Technical College receive. But the 75 hours of lab and lecture time is being condensed to just a week.
"They are doing phenomenal, they are taking it so well," Cleveland said. "It's so much to take in in a short period of time and they have great attitudes, they all care and they're engaged."
Members of the Minnesota National Guard found out about their mission just a week before training started. After they wrap up training this weekend, they expect to be placed in a long term care facility shortly thereafter assisting real patients.
Maj. Dan Lafontaine of the Minnesota National Guard says he's prepared. "Of course, a little bit nervous but we'll be ready with the training here, it's been really good training, impressive actually."
In all, the staff at Anoka Technical College is training 50 soldiers while 21 guard members are in the classroom at Anoka-Ramsey. Both those training and those receiving the lessons say they are happy to be part of the solution.
"We love being able to help out in this way, they're making sacrifices and we like to help, this is what we are here for," Cleveland said.
If you're interested in learning the same skills, college officials say there's always a demand for nursing assistants and new classes start every month. To learn more, click here.