Through late night classes, hours of studying, and flipping through countless note cards, 8 students completed the Caminos 2.0 program and celebrated at a graduation ceremony at Centro Hispano on Jan. 29.

“This group, in particular, was very dedicated and very hard working. I asked a lot from them,” Faatima Khan, Caminos 2.0 program coordinator, tells Madison365. “They were coming to class every day from 5-9 p.m.; sometimes from 3-9 p.m. They were very dedicated and very motivated.”

This is the second cohort of graduates for Caminos 2.0, a program for those whom are already Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN) certified and seeking to get into UW Hospital and Clinics

“Their hard work and dedication was nothing short of amazing. We hope that they continue on this path of success and wish them all the best in the future,” Khan says. “They really opened up throughout the program. Some of them were very shy at the beginning but over the course became very confident in their English skills and their abilities. They really demonstrated how they grew over the course of the program.”

Caminos 2.0. is a new and exciting program for seasoned CNAs that has been designed to instill the necessary educational foundations and leadership skills needed to be successful in a high-paced and demanding workplace. Developed in partnership with UW-Hospital, the program strives to capture Centro Hispano’s commitment to leadership, personal improvement/development, civic engagement, and purposeful learning inside and outside of a classroom setting.

Camions 2.0 is an evolution from Centro’s original Caminos program that provides integrated training in the area of health care services to Latinos in the greater Madison area. “We give them scholarships to help them attain their Nursing Assistant licenses,” Khan says.

They also get case managed support to complete an ESL-supported Nursing Assistant program at Madison College. The goal is to obtain Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Certification as well as obtain employment in the health care setting. Since 2012, the Caminos Certified Nursing Assistant program has graduated more than 70 students, of which 80 percent are currently employed.

The Caminos 2.0 program is something that Khan recently created and it takes those that are interested in nursing but really want to work in a high-paced environment. “We’re partnering directly with UW Hospital,” she says. “The program is 70 hours of commitment and we hope to instill the necessary educational foundations of leadership, civic engagement, and purposeful learning inside and outside of class settings in order for our students to be better equipped to enter a hospital setting.

“We’re really pushing for them to earn $15 an hour as part of the United Way’s HIRE Initiative,” she adds.

Faatima Khan, Caminos 2.0 program coordinator
Faatima Khan, Caminos 2.0 program coordinator

Khan teaches the cohort from 5-9 p.m. weeknights at Centro. She brought in speakers from UW Hospitals to talk to the group and to give them the same training that the UW staff receives. “They talked to the Caminos 2.0 students about team building and communication and preparing them for the interviews and assisting them with professional development as far as their resumes and cover letters to really have them prepared for an interview and to be successful,” Khan says.

For many of these Camino 2.0 students, they are looking for their first job. “They are really striving to work at the hospital and it can be difficult to get that work without a year of experience,” Khan says. “This gives them a platform to do that. I will be working with them to help with the application process. We really hope that they will all get positions at the hospital and start working there and to continue with the advancement of their nursing careers.”

As a part of Caminos Finance, Centro Hispano will also be offering scholarships for a new 6-week program for Latino millennials who would like to become bank tellers. Working with credit unions in the Madison area, this program offers training for bilingual scholarship participants who would like to start a career in the finance field. The attendees will increase computer literacy; they will develop financial vocabulary and improve customer service skills.

“Our Career Finance Track will be starting up soon and I am heading up that program, too,” Khan says. “Those who are interested have until Feb. 17 for the application deadline. Orientation will take place the following week and classes will start Feb. 29.”