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Military spouses complete certified nurse assistant program

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) -- Sitting in the stands, no one would ever guess the woman getting ready to walk across the stage to receive her certificate just said goodbye to her husband who she won't see for the next six months.

The sacrifices she's made during his 10-year career go unnoticed by those around her, but that doesn't matter today. She's just gained a skillset she can take with her wherever the Air Force decides to send her family.

The freedoms given up by a military spouse can sometimes be overlooked. However, the Airman & Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) did not overlook the four women who recently received their certified nurse assistant certificate.

"The A&FRC wrote a grant proposal to the Air Force Aid Society asking for funds to help active duty military spouses get job skills so they can be marketable wherever the sponsor may relocate to," said Stephanie Reyes, the Barksdale Air Force Base A&FRC chief. "This year we were awarded money for the certified nurse assistance program (CNA)."

Barksdale AFB has won the grant for several years after being asked by the AFAS if they want to partner with the local colleges in support of spouse education.

Four military spouses were selected to attend the CNA program offered at Bossier Parrish Community College, Louisiana.

"We chose the CNA program because there is such a large need here in the Shreveport Bossier City area," Reyes said. "The program prepares individuals to work with long-term care patients, such as those in nursing homes and those receiving home healthcare."

Upon completion of the 10-week, 160 credit-hour program, students will receive a certificate of completion and be recognized as a CNA in the state of Louisiana, Reyes said.

"It's very heartwarming to see families are taken care of," she said. "It's not just the active-duty member who serves. The family serves right along with them, so it's important we take care of them as well."

Brandi Ervin, a recent graduate of the CNA program, said she believes it's a great opportunity offered by the Air Force and the A&FRC. Brandi is the spouse of Tech. Sgt. Jashon Ervin, from the 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

"I feel like I have something I can travel with wherever he goes or if we relocate somewhere else," Ervin said. "I can jump right in and get a job."

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