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CNA Classes Offered Through Partnership

Fort Smith Adult Education Center Partners with Mercy and Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus to offer CNA Classes

With a growing need to employ Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) in the River Valley, the Fort Smith Adult Education Center (FSAEC) has strategically partnered with Mercy Fort Smith and Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus (ATU-Ozark) to offer free CNA Classes to adult learners. The classes are funded by a grant from the Department of Workforce Services, taught at the Adult Education Center by an ATU-Ozark instructor, and furnished with equipment and supplies by Mercy Fort Smith. After 22 days of class and two clinical days at Greenhurst Nursing Center in Charleston, students are ready to take their CNA examination. If they pass, they can begin work immediately and receive a national credential for their experience. The CNA program at the FSAEC is only one of four in Arkansas held at an Adult Education Center. 

“This program is changing lives. It makes local employers happy because they can recruit for positions that have remained unfilled for too long. The key to this program is the partnership. Every partner had their list of to-do’s for this project, and we all came together to get the job done in order to fill a need in the River Valley, said Justin Smith, ATU-Ozark Chief Business and Community Outreach Officer.

Jordan King with ATU-Ozark is the primary class instructor and Angela Holwick is the Fort Smith Adult Education instructor who assists King and also serves as a special education teacher at Northside High School. 

Mercy Fort Smith provides scholarships for CNA program applicants who want the assurance of having full-time employment after class completion. 

“Mercy wants to find the best of the best CNAs in the area. For applicants, having the opportunity to complete these classes knowing you have full-time employment is empowering. This program is successful because of its high standards and expectations from the partnership and students. Everyone is dedicated to its success. We are furthering opportunities for so many in the community, and that is something to be proud of,” said Teresa Nichols, Senior Recruiter at Mercy Fort Smith.

The Fort Smith Adult Education Center offers a wide range of classes that are available to any adult over the age of 18 who is a resident of the area. Flexible class schedules, day and evening sessions are offered to meet the unique needs of adult learners.

“We are proud to partner with ATU-Ozark and Mercy Fort Smith to offer adult learners the opportunity to further their education and build a strong, long-lasting career in the River Valley. This partnership is life-changing for our students. We are grateful to ATU-Ozark and Mercy Fort Smith for their investment into our students’ lives,” said Kathleen Dorn, Director of the Fort Smith Adult Education Center. 

For those interested in the program, please contact the Fort Smith Adult Education Center at 479-784-8185.


Nursing Instructors and students

Pictured seated left to right: TyRena Massey, April Cook, Hannah Gomez

Pictured standing left to right: Angela Holwick, RN, Full time @ NHS, Part time Adult Ed. Instructor,  Willie Weston, Robert Ragsdale, Melissa Smith, Jordan King, RN, Instructor Arkansas Tech - Ozark Campus.