Para Los Niños (PLN) held a ceremony celebrating 23 students who graduated from a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.

“You’ve got a career path that is unstoppable,” said Jan Perry, General Manager of the City’s Economic and Workforce Development Department (EWDD) to the graduates. CNAs provide basic, day-to-day care for patients in nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities and act as assistants to registered nurses.

“We’re really excited for you and this is one of many accomplishments to follow,” said PLN Director of Youth Workforce Services Jorge Orozco. For many students, becoming a CNA is a stepping stone to higher education and healthcare careers.

Graduate Angel Medina, 23, spent several years working warehouse jobs at Forever 21 and Michael Kors but wanted a job with a career trajectory and salary that would allow him to provide a better lifestyle for his family. “I plan to work as a CNA and continue my education to become a registered nurse,” he said. Once he begins work as a CNA, Angel hopes he will earn more money to help support his 14-month-old daughter Jaylene. “I’ll be able to provide for her a lot more, maybe spend more time with her as well,” he said. Angel’s mother Maria Ramirez expressed pride in her son and happiness that he successfully transitioned to a career where he could help other people. “He told me he likes to help,” she said. “He said he wanted something new,” Maria said she is so happy with the services PLN provided Angel that she hopes they can also help his younger brother, who struggles with school.

EWDD partner PLN runs the Central and East Region YouthSource Centers in Los Angeles. The graduation also proved inspirational for 13-year-old Jose Hernandez, who cheered for his older sister and graduate Yesenia Tello. “It makes me want to do the same thing as she’s done,” he said. “I want to know how that feels, to accomplish my dreams.”