SBCC’s Certified Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide program, part of the college’s acclaimed School of Nursing, has received a shot in the arm in the form of a $385,000 grant from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation.

The CNA/HHA program prepares men and women to administer basic nursing care under the direction of a licensed nurse. The focus of the program is on care of the elderly and infirm, including both classroom and clinical experience.

The $300,000 grant will support 105 students pursuing a CNA certificate each year for three years, covering tuition and extra costs associated with this area of specialty. Such costs include textbooks, uniforms, identification badges, nursing equipment and supplies, certification exam fees and scholarships. The grant also provides support for instruction, advertising and marketing.

About 75 percent of students in the CNA/HHA program at SBCC have limited financial resources. Many of the students are juggling full- and part-time jobs while attending school. The students all have one thing in common — they are seeking to establish themselves in a health-care career while providing needed services to the Santa Barbara community.

In addition to their theory and lab classes, each student experiences caring for individuals in a skilled nursing facility.

The gift is an extension of Rupe’s generosity. He donated $500,000 to the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College to underwrite the college’s CNA/HHA certificate programs in 2005. The gift, in memory of Rupe’s late wife, Dorothy, funded the program in its entirety for 105 students each year for five years.

The remaining $85,000 awarded will be earmarked for a five-year longitudinal tracking program, which will collect information from current and future SBCC CNA/HHA students over a five-year period to help with the effectiveness of the program.

— Stefanie Davis is a marketing and communications coordinator for SBCC.