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American Red Cross and Walmart Begin 2 Year Nurses Program

FAIRFAX, Wednesday, January 28, 2015 — The American Red Cross will help fund training for 2,500 students in the Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training (NAT) program over the next two years thanks to a $3.5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation. The grant also covers the cost of the state certification exam to become a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA).

This latest grant is part of an ongoing partnership between the Red Cross and the Walmart Foundation. Since 2012, the Foundation has given the Red Cross $7 million to support the Red Cross NAT program nationally. The program is available in Maryland, Virginia and more than 50 other locations in 20 states.

“The Walmart Foundation continues to open the door to a fulfilling career in healthcare for women in Maryland and Virginia who want job training, but cannot afford it,” said Linda Mathes, CEO of the American Red Cross in the National Capital Region. “This grant will enable our Nurse Assistant Training Program to equip a new generation of nurse assistants in our community with skills to help fill the pipeline of entry-level healthcare workers.”

The NAT program supports the goals of Walmart’s Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, one of which is to help 200,000 U.S. women from low-income households access job training, education, career counseling and mentoring to increase their employment opportunities.

“The Walmart Foundation aims to improve the lives of underserved women and understands the role job training plays in unlocking economic mobility, “ Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Walmart Foundation. “That’s why we are very proud to partner with the Red Cross to help provide training to thousands of women seeking a meaningful career in healthcare.”

Majority of NAT graduates in Maryland and Virginia are women who come from lower-income households and are living below the poverty line. NAT graduates earn an average wage increase of around 20 percent and many find jobs that provide much needed health insurance for themselves and their families.

Red Cross NAT instructors equip students with the skills required to become CNAs and provide basic care, such as germ control, patient safety and care techniques, restorative care, vital sign measurements, end-of-life care, home care and CPR/FA/AED certification. In addition to quality training, the Red Cross in the National Capital Region provides job development and work readiness resources.

What graduates of the program are saying:

The only reason I was able to take this class was because of the scholarship I got from the Walmart Foundation

“…I want to take the time to thank them for making this possible…I am a 19 year-old girl who had an eventful life full of struggling to get by. My classmates and my instructors were supportive and understanding beyond words and helped me a great amount. I wanted to take this course because I want to help people who can’t help themselves, I want to help people who need it and I want to do it to the best of my ability, which is why I choose the Red Cross. I plan on being a full-time LNA [Licensed Nurse Assistant] in a long-term facility and I know I’ll love every second of it and maybe be an RN [Registered Nurse] one day…I just want people to understand that this class really did change my life and I want other people who can’t afford the class (like me) to be able to get a scholarship to better themselves.” — Recent NAT graduate, Alexis George, from Concord, N.H.

I plan to continue my education and ultimately become an RN

“I wanted to attend the American Red Cross NAT program because it was a more detailed course given by a world renowned organization that is highly regarded. I found myself unemployed and a single mom of two children and I needed to find a way to provide for them. I always wanted to do nursing and I thought this would be a good place to start. The scholarship was a major help for me being an unemployed single mom because now my finances were tighter than ever. The goal I achieved from this program was obtaining a lifelong buildable skill. This course, with my prior job skills, will open many doors to employment that will keep me and my children in our home and [give us a] stable lifestyle.” — Recent NAT graduate, Jody Gabriel, from Cleveland, Ohio

The Red Cross has trained and engaged America’s nurses in its life-saving mission for more than 130 years. More than 5.6 million people a year nationwide receive Red Cross health and safety skills that help save lives.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About Philanthropy at Walmart

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally, Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the needs of the communities it serves and make a significant social impact within its core areas of giving: Hunger Relief & Healthy Eating, Sustainability, Career Opportunity and Women’s Economic Empowerment. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States with a $2 billion commitment through 2015. Walmart has donated more than 1 billion meals to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit foundation.walmart.com.