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'We want to empower them': CSI creates first bilingual CNA course

Posted at 5:28 PM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 21:03:41-04

MAGIC VALLEY — After becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution, the College of Southern Idaho has created its first bilingual Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) course set to start this fall.

The bilingual course will be taught on Tuesday afternoons in English but resources provided in Spanish.

“For this new class that we are going to start, the ESL instructor is going to be for the first couple of hours, the first two hours giving only English as a second language lessons, then I will go into the classroom and she stays there and gives support throughout my class," said Alma Padron, CNA program manager.

CSI became the first Hispanic Serving Institution in Idaho after 25.7% of their students identified as Hispanic which is one of the reasons why the course was created.

Padron said there was a need for a bilingual course and noticed an increase in the amount of ESL students taking the course.

“It has a lot to do with that and not only with that but we have a huge demand for CNA’s and that is not just statewide but nationwide," Padron said.

“We want to empower them and have them take a place in society and give back," Padron said.

She said she hopes providing these resources will motivate students to continue down the path of becoming a CNA, since learning medical terms can be difficult in a language you don't speak fluently. It is something Padron experienced first-hand since English was her second language.

“I know first hand how difficult it can be, even many times a person can lose interest for it because you feel like you’re not going to make it," Padron said.

The course will be offered in 16 weeks as opposed to the usual eight-week course to give ESL students more time to learn the medical terms among other things.

Padron said she hopes the course being taught in both English and Spanish will motivate the students to want to continue to learn English.

“We don’t want to give the class to them only in Spanish, but we want it to be bilingual because we want them to continue and pursue a career and the only way that they are going to do that is by learning the language by learning the culture," Padron said.

The course will also be taught in English on Wednesday and Thursday nights.