Wellstar Offers North Star CNA Training Program for Adult Learners

Wellstar Health System
Quality Careers & Workplaces

In November 2020, Wellstar Health System launched an “earn while you learn” Certified Nursing
Assistant (CNA) training program that offers adults both entry and access to healthcare careers
by paying them upfront for their participation—which provides income for the training period—
and a condensed training period that better fits their life circumstances. While participating, adult students gain certification from a technical school during the initial 5-8 weeks, then apply what they learned while working in the medical surgery unit of WellStar.


Typical turnover at the CNA level was around 68%, according to Natalie Jones, Executive
Director of Workforce Development for Wellstar. However, 328 participants have graduated from
the program since its launch, and the turnover rate has been reduced by more than half to an
average of 29%.


In addition to the shortened timeframe for training, participants are paid on the front end for
their participation. Jones says the “beauty of it is we are paying them up front and in good faith
that they will succeed.”

  • Technical College System of Georgia
  • Marietta City Schools

Students are more successful if they understand the nature of the work upfront and that they need to develop milestones and incentives along the way to keep students engaged and motivated. Jones says they also intend to offer more robust wraparound services such as childcare and transportation in the future.

“We can build employer loyalty starting at the
onboarding process by letting participants
know this is a long-term investment for us, and
we are going to surround them with a team that
supports them and wants them to succeed.”
– NATALIE JONES, Executive Director of Workforce Development 

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