Governor Announces Job Training Effort for At-Risk Young Workers

Initiative brings together health care providers, non-profits, Delaware Works, and Delaware Tech to give Delawareans new opportunities to fill openings in growing health care field

Wilmington, DE – Building on efforts to ensure every Delawarean has access to education and training to thrive in today’s economy, Governor Markell today announced a new job training opportunity targeted at young workers, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Governor, who previewed the initiative in his State of the State address, worked with McKinsey Social Initiative to make Wilmington one of the pilot cities in the organization’s Generation USA youth employment program.  By bringing together health care employers with non-profits and Delaware Tech, the program provides Wilmington young adults accelerated training as certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in a fast-growing sector of the economy. Those who complete the program, pass a certification test and interview successfully are guaranteed jobs with Delaware employers.

“In today’s increasingly competitive global economy, we can only build a strong middle class and give all Delawareans a chance to realize their potential if we make it possible for everyone to prepare for good jobs in growing industries,” said Markell. “Youth unemployment in particular remains persistently high across the country and those who struggle to find a stable job at a young age are often unable to catch up to their peers and make the most of their talents. I’m thrilled that McKinsey Social Initiative has chosen Wilmington as one of the first sites of Generation USA and I thank Delaware Tech and Delaware Works, along with our employer and non-profit partners for making this opportunity available for our young workers.”

Geared toward low-income, 18-29 year olds who are currently unemployed or underemployed, Generation offers an eight-week boot camp CNA course in partnership with Delaware Tech.  The program’s recruitment partners include the successful Jobs for Delaware Graduates program, which has demonstrated a tremendous track record of helping the most at-risk students graduate and transition into college or the workforce, as well as Goodwill and Career Tech.

“Generation is grateful for the support of Governor Markell and the many wonderful local partners in Wilmington who are making this program possible,” said Dr. Mona Mourshed, Executive Director of Generation. “Delaware is at the front lines of the effort across the country and the world to better prepare young people to be successful in the middle-skill jobs that employers are so desperately seeking to fill.”

The Generation boot camp integrates technical training in the classroom and at job sites, along with behavioral and mindset skills, which will help students prepare to overcome both workplace and personal challenges. Eight students are expected to participate in each cohort, consistent with state regulations on classroom teacher-student ratios. The first set of employer partners, Saint Francis Healthcare and Cadia Rehabilitation, have been engaged from the beginning of the program, and the curriculum has been developed with their input to meet their employment needs and those of other sizable health care organizations. Generation plans to bring on additional employment partners soon.

“Generation is an exciting program that will help us meet our ongoing need for highly qualified employees,” said Cathy Weaver, Vice President, Mission, Ministry and Human Resources, at Saint Francis Healthcare. “We’re so pleased to be partnering with Generation—and looking forward to welcoming our first hires from the program.”

Participants will begin the process of applying and interviewing with the employers by the third week of the program. Social support and mentorship will be available throughout the course to enable even the most vulnerable young people to be successful. Students will receive stipends during the course. Generation’s model also ensures that graduates of the program will continue to have access to support and regular follow-up contacts for the first six months of their employment.

Graduates will be qualified for certified nurse assistant positions, placing them on a career path where additional training can allow them to take on roles of increasing responsibility, from medical assistants to Registered Nurse jobs.

The first class will start on June 1, and Generation will be recruiting additional classes to start later in the year. Interested young people or employers should contact

Training a 21st Century Workforce Delaware’s participation in the Generation USA youth employment program is part of a series of efforts announced in Governor Markell’s State of the State address to rethink the state’s approach to workforce training and ensure more workers gain the skills to meet the demands of key industries in the new economy.

Last month, the Governor announced 15 Pathways to Prosperity grants for high schools to implement programs that allow students to earn workplace experience and college credit in high-demand fields before they graduate.

Next week, he will unveil details about the launch of an IT training program that has already been recognized by the White House as a model for preparing people for well-paying technology jobs.

McKinsey Social Initiative

Founded by McKinsey & Company in 2014, McKinsey Social Initiative applies problem solving expertise to develop innovative approaches to complex social challenges. McKinsey Social Initiative houses individual programs, each of which focuses on a single issue and brings together different partners from the private, public, and social sectors to design and implement solutions. It is an independent 501(c)(3). Generation is McKinsey Social Initiative’s first program.