Bank of America Helps Break Barriers for Multicultural Nursing Students

Multicultural Nursing Assistant students practicing taking blood pressure
December 3, 2021

College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Multicultural Nursing Assistant program is honored to be a Bank of America grant recipient for 2021.

Bank of America has worked with nonprofit partners and other leaders across public and private sectors in the Treasure Valley for years to help drive economic mobility for vulnerable populations. This work has included donating funds to assist CWI in the creation of a Multicultural Nursing Assistant program. The program, started in 2011, is designed to facilitate viable career pathways in healthcare professions leading to employment for students whose primary language is not English. Over the past decade, the program has helped provide critical healthcare workforce training and employment to more than 100 students.

“CWI is playing an important role in breaking down barriers for immigrant and refugee students in Idaho,” said Kurt Walsdorf, President of Bank of America Idaho. “CWI’s innovative Multicultural Nursing Assistant courses will prepare English Language Learners for a career in healthcare – helping them achieve their own career and economic success, while also providing invaluable medical support during a time of great need in the community.” 

“Some students in the Multicultural Nursing Assistant program come to the United States with years of experience as doctors, nurses, radiologists, and healthcare administrators,” said Adult Education Supervisor, Trevi Hardy. “This program is often a first step in those students’ ability to reclaim their careers and to serve our community as healthcare workers. Other students are just starting out, and this program is a first step in their professional or academic journey. In either case, the Bank of America gift reduces barriers to participation in this critical career pathway, and our community benefits from this linguistically skilled, culturally diverse, and extraordinarily dedicated talent pool.”

Innocent is currently a student in the program. Innocent came to the United States in March of this year as a Congolese refugee from Rwanda.

“I have a bachelor’s degree in the field of nursing,” he said. “As I am struggling to be a licensed nurse here in the United States, I have decided to start as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). When my degree is accepted here, I can continue my career as a nurse. Through the Multicultural Nursing Assistant program, I hope to obtain my professional license in the healthcare field as well as gain knowledge to help me work as a CNA in Idaho and across the United States.”

Through Bank of America’s partnership and $70,000 gift to CWI, the College can provide greater access to Multicultural Nursing Assistant students, like Innocent, through the help of scholarships. The grant is aligned to the bank’s broader efforts to help advance racial equality and economic opportunity through a $1.25 billion commitment over five years focused on health, jobs and reskilling, affordable housing, and small business.

To learn more about CWI’s Multicultural Nursing Assistant program, visit the Adult Education page on the CWI website or contact Trevi Hardy at trevihardy@cwi.edu. The next cohort of classes begins in February.