WisCaregiver Careers Program

WisCaregiver Careers is a workforce development program. It addresses the shortage of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in the state by supporting recruitment, training, and retention of individuals to care for nursing home residents  across Wisconsin. The program is administered by the Wisconsin Health Care Association and LeadingAge Wisconsin. It offers: 

  • Free nurse aide training
  • Free nurse aide certification testing
  • $500 retention bonus after six months of employment as a nurse aide

To find out more information or to register for the program, visit the WisCaregiver Careers website or contact a participating employer nursing home directly. FoodShare recipients can also join the program through their local FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) agencies. These agencies: 

  • Conduct initial screenings
  • Give out program information
  • Support those in the program

Learn more about WisCaregiver Careers

Program background and funding 

In 2016, Wisconsin’s chief economist warned of a looming shortage in the health care workforce. At the time, nursing homes reported one in seven caregiver positions were unfilled. Wisconsin’s Division of Quality Assurance and Division of Medicaid Services created the WisCaregiver Careers Program to help fill this gap. 

The initial WisCaregiver Careers program launched in 2018 to attract and retain nurse aides to the state’s workforce. To do that, the program lowered costs and made training more accessible. Today, the successful program has been expanded to increase its impact and reach. 

Civil Money Penalty (CMP) Reinvestment Program Grant, 2018-2021

DHS used this grant to help launch the WisCaregiver Careers Program in 2018. It also received federal approval to invest $2.3 million in the program. Read about the success of the WisCaregiver Careers Program, P-02531 (PDF)

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Fast Forward/CMP Grant, 2020-2022

Under this grant, DHS partnered with the Wisconsin Health Care Association and LeadingAge Wisconsin to address the CNA shortage in Wisconsin nursing homes. Through the partnership, new workers were offered free training, certification testing, and sign-on or retention bonuses.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Grant, 2022-2024

A $6 million investment, funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Nursing Home & Long-term Care Facility Strike Team program, will expand the current program including recruiting qualified employers to host new CNA training slots. Funds will support employee recruitment and success through retention bonuses, employer reimbursement and success bonuses, and mentorships.  

Related topics


Last Revised: July 28, 2022