Free nursing assistant job program for Pee Dee (South Carolina) residents

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – McLeod Health, Florence Darlington Tech and SC Works formed a partnership to offer a free nursing assistant program for residents in the Pee Dee. It’s called the Fast Track program.

According to Courtney Weaver, Director of Strategic Talent Acquisition at McLeod, individuals who complete the program are automatically given a job.

“We’re seeking new applicants to go into these positions, and we’re looking through this program. It’s starting now until May where we will hire 40 new individuals to become nursing assistants at our McLeod Health organization,” Weaver said.

People interested in the program must live in the Pee Dee, have a high school diploma and qualify under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Individuals can apply on the McLeod website and wait for an acceptance letter.

The program consists of 60 hours in the classroom, 40 hours in an extended care facility and 20 hours in clinical labs. Students then begin a paid apprenticeship with McLeod that later becomes their full-time job.

According to Weaver, it’s an opportunity for people of all age groups to join the health field. One retired Army Veteran completed the program and is now fulfilling her dreams.

“I had to start at my ripe old age, and start over and continue the march, if I desired to be medical. That’s always what I had desired even when I first went in the military in 1978, I desired to be a nurse,” Linda Barry said.

Barry lived in the Bahamas for 13 years before starting the program. She served as an Ammunition Inspector in the military and also worked in ministry.

When she joined the Army in 1978, individuals had to take the job the military needed filled, so she couldn’t be a nurse back then. It was her daughter who helped her relive her dream by introducing her to the Fast Track program.

“My daughter offered it. She said,’mom, I found something on the McLeod website that might suit you because you’re a Vet and you’re retired Army,'” she said.

According to Weaver, the program is a great way to climb up the ladder in a health career.

“It was a great opportunity for students to go back to school and just enhance their professional career. Something that we don’t want is for them just to stop here and get there nursing assistant. We’d love for them to go on to LPN school or RN school.”