HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — One nonprofit serving Hays County wants to help fill the need for more health care workers, and for them, it all starts with language.

Community Action of Central Texas said hospitals and health care facilities across Hays County are in need of nurses and nurse aides. It said some people its staff already works with are qualified for the job but don’t speak fluent English. 

So, Community Action will be offering free English classes with the help of funding from the Texas Workforce Commission. 

According to Post-Exit and Workforce Integration Project Coordinator with Community Action Andrea Schipper, they’ve seen a lot of people who may be working as home health aides but don’t have the English skills to become a certified nurse aide. That’s why they’re working to bridge the gap when it’s needed now.

Schipper said some employers have even reached out to them directly, asking them for help, so they can hire more nurses and nurse aides.

“A big barrier for them is passing the NCLEX exam, which is a multiple choice test only offered in English,” Schipper said. “So, if they don’t have those advanced English skills, they’re not going to be able to be an RN. A way for them to gain the vocabulary they need is to first become a certified nurse aide, get in a job there, be working with a team there, to get the English that they need to succeed.”

Orientation for the English class for nurses was on Wednesday. Classes will be held from Jan. 5 through Feb. 9 on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m.

The ESL nurse aide orientation is Feb. 8, with classes starting Feb. 14 and ending May 5.

You can visit Community Action’s website to register.