A grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission will help Virginia Western train students south of Roanoke to be certified Nursing Assistants and Medication Aides.  WFIR’s Timothy Martin explains.

Release from Virginia Western Community College:

Virginia Tobacco Commission grant supporting Virginia Western CNA program

Students in Franklin County are eligible for scholarships in growing healthcare field


ROANOKE —A grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission is helping Virginia Western Community College train students from Franklin County to become Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA)and Medication Aides (MA). As the senior population in Franklin County continues to increase rapidly, these students will fill the growing need for workers in the healthcare industry.

The nearly $50,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission will provide scholarships to Franklin County and Southside students based upon their income. Students may be eligible to have half of their tuition costs covered for the four-week CNA program and the three-week MA program. Full tuition for the seven weeks of combined programs is $1,175.


“We have witnessed the need for well-trained CNAs and MAs in the Franklin County region, and know that it will only grow as the number of people 65 and older is projected to increase by nearly 200 percent by 2020,” said Jim Poythress, Virginia Western’s Vice President of Workforce Solutions. “The support of the Virginia Tobacco Commission will assist this region as well as give students the skills they need to find quality, lasting employment.”


Virginia Western’s CNA program was established in May 2012 in partnership with Generation Solutions. Classes are held at the Franklin Center in Rocky Mount and students do their clinical work in locations such as the Franklin Health & Rehabilitation Center.


“Since we’ve been doing these courses, I’ve seen many students land quality jobs that they wouldn’t have had an opportunity to pursue before,” said Mike Greer, program coordinator. “Recently a student was offered a position before she even finished her clinical experience, contingent on receiving her certification. The combination of training and networking in the industry means so much for these students’ job prospects.”


Greer estimates that the Virginia Tobacco Commission grant will support 70 students with scholarships. For more information on applying for a scholarship, please contact Mike Greer at (540) 483-0179, ext. 2116, or mgreer@virginiawester.edu.