For most entrepreneurs it’s after deep thought or swift realization that a business is launched. For Rachele Simmons, the inspiration came about when she took her son on an East coast college tour in 2009. Having then been a nurse for 20 years, Simmons’ attention drifted to the many hospitals and medical facilities she’d see on campuses in Washington DC and Maryland.
“I wondered if they had a lot of nursing programs or programs for people who wanted to get in on the ground floor. As a nurse I knew you could get a job pretty quickly as a nursing assistant. Depending upon where you live you could make $12 to $20 bucks an hour,” said Simmons, a St. Paul, MN native who’s always wanted to usher minorities in her home state into the healthcare field.
A Different Kind of Business License
By the time she returned from the East coast, Simmons had researched all of the information needed to open a training facility of her own.
“I had looked up nursing assisting programs, how to start one in St. Paul, what credentials I needed and business information on how to own one,” she said.
Gearing up to establish a nursing assistance certification school, Simmons registered at Minneapolis Community and Technical College to earn a license to teach and learn basic business skills. As Simmons’ program correlates with community, she linked up with a neighborhood entrepreneurship program.
Just two months after deciding to create a certified nursing assistant program, Simmons unveiled Foundations Health Career Academy. The accredited school would offer a month-long (80-hour) course that would graduate certified nursing assistants (CNA) and home health aides. Using curriculum approved and outlined by the state of Minnesota — and used in any other CNA program — Simmons would serve as the sole lecturer and clinical skills instructor. Following three weeks of lectures, students participate in a clinical externship. After clinicals, students have to pass a state competency exam.