News & Events 2024

Current News & Events

CareerEdge and Dwyer Workforce Development Fund
hybrid learning CNA training in partnership with
Meridian West Central College

(July, 10, 2024) – Sarasota, Florida
The workforce development initiative of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, CareerEdge, continuously seeks innovative programs and techniques to support local businesses. In this new partnership, CareerEdge, with Dwyer Workforce Development, and Meridian West Central College offer a tuition free hybrid learning Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) class launching in August.

Dwyer Workforce Development (DWD) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing healthcare training to communities and enhancing care for seniors. DWD will offer free case management and need-based wraparound services, such as financial support for housing, childcare, transportation, scholarships, and more.

Meridian West Central College, an award winning local private school licensed by the Commission for Independent Education, will provide the 120-hour program to prepare individuals for entry-level nursing work in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and/or private duty settings. The goal of the program is to address the growing demand for skilled healthcare professionals in our community and provide individuals from Sarasota and Manatee County with the opportunity to start a rewarding career in healthcare without the financial burden.

This program is taught in English, with a combination of lecture, discussion, hands-on practical lab exercises, and real-world clinical experience conducted off-campus at local nursing/rehab facilities. The tuition-free FastTrack begins August 12, 2024, and runs through October 18 with AM and PM classes available. Morning classes are held Monday – Wednesday online, Thursday in person, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. In-person classes will take place at Meridian West Central College, 201 Montgomery Avenue Sarasota, Florida 34243. Evening classes take place from 5:00 to 9:00pm with the same three days of online instruction and one day of in-person practice. The program will also include CareerEdge’s Bridges to Careers soft skills training where participants learn additional aspects of professionalism, including interview and resume building skills.

Program Highlights:

  • Tuition-Free: The CNA training program is tuition-free for all eligible participants.
  • Comprehensive Curriculum: The program includes 9 weeks of remote learning instruction, with in person hands-on clinical training, and preparation for the state certification exam.
  • Job Placement Assistance: Graduates will receive support in finding employment opportunities upon completion of the program.
  • Flexible Schedules: Classes are available during the day 9am to 1pm or evenings 5pm to 9pm to accommodate different schedules.
  • Wraparound services: Financial support during training for housing, childcare, transportation, scholarships, and more, provided by Dwyer Workforce Development.

To be eligible, applicants must have a GED or high school diploma, reside in Sarasota or Manatee County, submit their application by Monday, July 22nd, and pass a background check and drug test before beginning the training. Participants are responsible for paying for their application fee, certification exam fee, fingerprint testing, drug screening and CPR certification. Participants must complete a medical clearance, provide proof of certain immunizations, and are responsible for covering expenses associated with these steps. No technical experience is required for this training. Interested applicants need to apply and interview with CareerEdge staff. Those selected will be notified. The program is limited to only 15 participants per cohort (AM and PM). For more information go to

Funding for the program is made possible by CareerEdge Funders Collaborative and the generous support from its funders and with the support of the local health care business community.

About CareerEdge Funders Collaborative

CareerEdge Funder’s Collaborative is an innovative partnership of business, government, and philanthropic organizations that leverages public and private dollars to provide opportunities for better jobs and wages in Manatee and Sarasota counties. CareerEdge is the workforce development initiative of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. For more information about CareerEdge and its partners, please visit or call (941) 556-4029.

About the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organization that works to cultivate Sarasota’s prosperity and quality of life through our member businesses. For more information, please click on the CareerEdge image below or call us at (941) 955-8187.