How did you spend Winter Break?

Many students look forward to a relaxing winter break with extra time for family, friends and sleep!  But, let me tell you about 38 students who started their 2017 new year in a much different way. From January 3 – 18, this group successfully completed Moraine Park Technical College’s Nursing Assistant (CNA) boot camps–a rigorous three-week learning experience.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) ACT for Healthcare Grant program, the CNA boot camps condense a typical 8- or 16-week, three-credit Nursing Assistant course into an accelerated format. Training provides theory, laboratory experience and clinical learning that teaches students the skills to perform duties such as taking vital signs, bathing, dressing, feeding, making beds, and other direct resident care. Community partner agencies are used for clinical learning. Offered at all Moraine Park campuses–Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend–the grant-funded CNA boot camps began in the summer of 2015 and will continue through March of 2018 when grant funding ends. Approximately 200 students are expected to complete the camps over the three-year grant, qualifying them to take the Pearson Vue Wisconsin Nurse Aides Certification Exam.

CNA training is required for students interested in pursuing many healthcare related fields, including nursing, radiography, physical therapy and more. At Moraine Park, students must successfully complete the Nursing Assistant course prior to enrolling in the Associate Degree Nursing program. Some CNAs go straight into the workforce. Others continue their studies toward an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Many students may work as a CNA for great experience and a paycheck while continuing their studies.

All 16 Wisconsin Technical Colleges, including Moraine Park, are three-year grant recipients, with each institution developing its own supplemental healthcare programs under the Act for Healthcare consortium project. Moraine Park already offers CNA classes at all three campuses throughout the academic year. CNA training is in high demand, and many times classes are filled to capacity.

Boot camp students complete the theory portion of the course online on their own time and master hands-on skills for 120 hours of training in the classroom and clinical settings.

A grade of C or better and 100 percent attendance are required for successful completion. Boot camp sizes are capped at 10 students per instructor, with some cohorts stacked with 20 students and two instructors.

Several partnership clinical sites serve as training grounds for students engaged in the CNA boot camps, including Hillside Manor, in Beaver Dam; Fond du Lac Lutheran Home, in Fond du Lac; as well as Samaritan Health Center and Cedar Community, both in West Bend.

The boot camp format appeals to many. Dislocated workers and veterans receive priority placement for grant funding.  Students on summer or winter breaks can complete their Nursing Assistant course in a three-week accelerated format and take the certification exam to move forward on their path of continued healthcare education and/or employment.

In order to participate in the upcoming grant-funded boot camps, students must attend an information/application session, complete a criminal background check and meet specific health and safety requirements.

Additional boot camps are planned for summer 2017.  To discover more, visit or call 920-924-3329.


Beaver Dam Boot Camp from left to right, back row: Jonathan Ihlenfeldt, Chrystyan Woyak, Willem Poelmans, Stacie Peterson, Catherine Seibel, Mariah Sodermark, President Bonnie Baerwald, Instructor Kathy Jerome, Dean Kristen Finnel, middle row: Instructor Tina Cordell, Nikki Schroeder, Penny Miller, Sydney Jurgensmeier, Jenna Ziorgen, Jessica Steinich, Kendalynn Acheson, Kristen Miller, Front row: Amber Pomplin, Jenny Sheridan, Emma Grahn, Yolanda Hayes-Barnes, and Katelin Beyer.


West Bend boot camp, Front row left to right: Alyssa Breitrick, Gabe Verfuerth, Hannah Fenske, Brooke Schultz, Robyn Riley, Ashley Rohde, Lori Ramsthal, Clair Pok Back row left to right: Instructor Dorothy Kleinke, Megan Herkstroeter, Miranda Zipp, Abigail Billings, Emma Trapp, Kelly Majerus, Makenna Drifka, Julie Padron, Abigail Reysen, Alex Jessel, Alexandra Schaefer, Megan Loga, Sarai Picazo-Cruz, Instructor Karrie Bruegman-May, and Dean Marylou Mercado.


President Bonnie Baerwald congratulates Jonathan Ihlenfeldt along with Dean Matt Hurtienne, Monica McGauley – Dodge County Worksmart Network, Dean Kristen Finnel and Instructors Kathy Jerome and Tina Cordell.


Written by Anne Lemke
Student Community Impact Coordinator