Press Release: Disability Services Hub of El Paso county Purchases CNA School to Train its Own Quality Caregivers

th from 4:30–6:30 PM to say farewell to the founders of Front Range Nurse Aide Training Program, William and Nancy Whatley. A brief presentation at 5:30 PM will celebrate the Whatley’s legacy and share the vision for what is now The Independence Center CNA School. Address is 7870 N. Academy Blvd. Light refreshments will be served.
The school will serve as a training program for CNAs (Certified Nurse Aides) that The Independence Center hopes to hire upon graduation and certification.
“This is just the sort of out-of-the-box thinking that The Independence Center does. The Home Health Industry has great difficulty finding CNAs to serve consumers. We hope by offering state-certified training ourselves we will retain some of the graduates as well as offer training to non-traditional groups such as people who are deaf or speak other languages and want to work in their community,” Patricia Yeager, CEO of The Independence Center offered.
Demand for CNAs in Colorado has doubled over the past decade. The Colorado Board of Nursing, which provides certification for CNAs, showed 24,816 active CNAs in 2006 jumped to 49,734 CNAs in 2016. The Home Health division of The Independence Center (The IC) has experienced a continual shortage of quality CNA caregivers to serve The IC clients with both physician-directed and client-directed care options.
Katey Castilla, RN, Director of The Independence Center CNA School added, “We also send many of our own qualified personal care attendants to become CNAs so that they can provide care for a broader range of clients than as they could as attendants.” (Training requirements for personal care attendants are less rigorous than for CNAs.)
Front Range Nurse Aide Training Program was established in Colorado Springs in 2006 and has successfully trained over 2,900 people, most of whom have proceeded to become Certified Nurse Aides (CNA), Registered Nurses (RN), Physician Assistants (PA) and even medical students pursuing MDs. Front Range Nurse Aide Training Program was voted the people’s choice winner of the Gazette’s Best of the Springs in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015.
Founders William and Nancy Whatley released a statement saying: “This sale will not only ensure that the school continues to provide our community with a quality training program that promotes high quality care, it will also ensure that the school continues to operate under the administration of a very respectful and ethical organization.”
About The Independence Center
The Independence Center is a local nonprofit organization that provides traditional and self-directed home health care, independent living, and advocacy services for people with disabilities.  These services range from providing peer support, skills classes, and employment assistance to individual and systems advocacy. In addition, The IC runs a Certified Nurse Aide school to equip the area with qualified CNAs. The IC’s mission is to work with people with disabilities, their families, and the community to create independence so all may thrive.

First Annual Briefing for State Legislators Held at The Independence Center

State Rep. Teri Carver speaks at the First Annual Legislative Breakfast at The Independence Center

State Rep. Teri Carver speaks at the First Annual Legislative Breakfast at The Independence Center

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, September 29, 2015 – The first annual Legislative Breakfast occurred at The Independence Center (The IC) September 28, 2015. Six state legislators attended the briefing where eight specific issues faced by people with disabilities were presented and discussed. Presentations on each issue were given by staff members of The Independence Center. Discussions included input from staff, legislators and The IC board members. The briefing was moderated by Patricia Yeager, CEO of The IC.

Issues on the table were housing, transit, employment, community transitions (referring to transition out of nursing homes into independent living), home modifications/ assistive technology, emergency preparedness, rural issues and home health. Each issue was framed as an opportunity for the legislators to observe that cost savings to the state and independent living for those with disabilities are not mutually exclusive.

“If we can get in the door, if we can get on the bus, if employers will hire us, we will be taxpayers,” Patricia Yeager, CEO stated regarding the need for accessibility in buildings, transportation, and the private employment sector.

The briefing took on a notable tone of dialogue, with legislators often providing comments, asking questions, and providing status updates regarding certain issues. Current issues were raised in this manner such as the status of CDOT Bustang collaboration with El Paso County and the impending merger of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.


State Sen. Kent Lambert Speaks at the First Annual Legislative Breakfast at The IC

State Sen. Kent Lambert Speaks at the First Annual Legislative Breakfast at The IC

What became apparent during the briefing was the significant interrelationship between the issues, and that solutions to one issue may very well serve as solutions to other issues accordingly. For example, housing is interrelated with community transitions. Because the Pikes Peak region lacks affordable, accessible housing, oftentimes people with disabilities reside unnecessarily in nursing homes, costing the state thousands of dollars each month in Medicaid costs. Working to solve the problem of lack of affordable housing inventory will also help save money in Medicaid dollars to nursing homes.

The breakfast discussion remained largely non-political and incorporated facts as well as anecdotal stories. For instance, Rep. Terri Carver spoke of experience from her early work as a 19-year-old in home health care and Rep. Janak Joshi spoke of his experience as a physician treating patients with transportation needs in rural areas. The officials were clearly engaged, concerned, and expressed gratitude to The IC with an ovation at the conclusion.

State legislature attendees were Sen. Kent Lambert (R), Rep. Terri Carver (R), Rep. Janak Joshi (R), Rep. Pete Lee (D), Rep. Paul Lundeen (R) and Rep. Gordon Klingenshmitt (R).

Download PDF