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Spotlight: Pathway To a New Career #STNA2PCA

In the fall of 2019 Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Care James (OSU CCC James) came to the PAST Foundation with a great idea: let’s create a workforce training opportunity for young at risk cohorts to train in a new skill. After working together to brainstorm for a week or two we came up with the idea of partnering with the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio (WDBCO) and their network of workforce providers to create a training cohort that would transition candidates from the State Trained Nursing Assistant (STNA) training and into the Patient Care Associate (PCA) training program at Ohio State. The STNA training is offered by Columbus City Schools through their Adult Community Education office in collaboration with Fort Hayes Career Center Nursing Lab. Nurse Cheryl Taylor would be leading that area of the project. For the OSUCCC James part of the project we would be working with Chris Krall with OSU Medical Center HR. With all the pieces in place we just needed funding; enter Starbucks.

Lawrence Jackson with WDBCO had long been searching for an opportunity to partner with Starbucks as a part of an offered grant to fund innovative education programs. Lawrence saw this particular program as a perfect fit. In addition to successfully obtaining a State Trained Nursing Assistant (STNA) certificate, the candidates were eligible to take a job at OSU CCC James and receive training in Patient Care Associate (PCA) training and move right into a new career at OSU. OSU wanted the pilot to be manageable and small enough to insure success. With the pathway set and the outcomes and deliverables clearly in mind we reached out to the workforce development community for eligible candidates. We decided to call the project #STNA2PCA. After three weeks of searching, seven candidates emerged that appeared to be a good fit for the program.

STNA2PCA Candidates at OSU CCC James

That’s where the PAST Foundation became more intimately involved. Overseeing the professional development and human skills training would be done by Dr. Andrew Bruening and Jim Bruner, both with the PAST Foundation. Dr. Bruening and Mr. Bruner interviewed all seven candidates before acceptance into the program. Arrangements were made to obtain background checks and FBI/BCI fingerprinting, and resumes were requested. The program began at Fort Hayes Career Center with Nurse Taylor, who provided the technical skills training and Jim Bruner, who provided support, professional, and human skills training for the candidates.

Over a compressed schedule of five weeks, the end of October through the end of December 2019, five of the

candidates made it through the course and successfully obtained their STNA license. And although two of the candidates did not obtain their license at the end of the five weeks, Jim Bruner and Nurse Taylor worked with them to provide additional support and tutoring. Nurse Taylor worked tirelessly on finding alternative pathways for employment opportunities, training, and tutoring until all seven of them passed their STNA exam.

At the end of the project we learned a lot about creating mentorship, culture, and engagement strategies with this type of cohort. How to motivate them to work together, support themselves, each other and their families. These youths were challenged in maintaining a schedule and morale, while making demands of each other and themselves to build a pathway to a new career. And they did this through mentorship, partnership, perseverance, and effort. We are very proud that we were able to be part of this journey with them.

For more information on this project and it’s long range impact on our workforce and community, contact

  1. Dr. Andrew Bruening at

  2. Jim Bruner at

STNA2PCA Inaugural Pilot


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