2 Dubuque nonprofits earn COVID-19 grant funding for job training

Two Dubuque nonprofits are receiving grants to support job training for people whose employment was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Luther Manor Communities and Four Mounds are among 46 awardees receiving a total of $5.85 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund Earn and Learn Grants, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday.

Luther Manor Communities received a $24,159 grant, which will be used toward certified nursing assistant training.

Executive Director Janet Warren said Luther Manor already used Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds to start two, three-person internal classes to further train staff. With the new grant, the goal is to train 10 to 12 more people, she said.

Trainees learn basic care aid, proper use of personal protective equipment and sanitation practice, she said.

“It’s really been rewarding, too, to see folks on our staff that did go through that, who wanted to try it,” she said. “It’s been exciting to watch them grow.”

Many people may have missed out on CNA training opportunities earlier this year when spring and summer classes paused due to COVID-19, Warren said.

“There has just been a lag of training,” she said. “There’s always been a (CNA) shortage, even before the pandemic, and now we’re under a greater shortage.”

Warren said nursing home staff have been emphasizing infection control in training. As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, Luther Manor was reporting a long-term-care outbreak with 48 COVID-19 cases, and 11 people recovered.

Found Mounds received $122,037 to continue providing community members with workforce skills. Program Manager Becky Bodish said a majority the funds will be used to expand the organization’s adult Housing Education and Rehabilitation Training, or HEART, programming.

“We’re focused on people whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19 and who have other barriers with recruitment, as well,” she said.

In August 2019, Four Mounds began offering adult programming and partnered with Northeast Iowa Community College to provide participants with carpentry skills, Bodish said. The grant funding will help purchase tools to expand on the skills participants can learn, including cabinetry and window restoration.

Four Mounds officials anticipate having 24 individuals undergo carpentry training in the next year, and participants can earn a building trades diploma through the program. In the first year of the carpentry program, 20 individuals participated, Bodish said.

“With working over the last little more than a year, we’re seeing lives completely transform,” she said. “We’re excited to continue that work and continue to reach more people.”