SEATTLE (April 1, 2020)—NextStep, a startup that trains and places workers into high-demand health care roles, today announced the launch of an online certificate designed to improve the safety of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and caregivers working with COVID-19 patients. The unique program will be offered in partnership with LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), an organization that represents nannies, house cleaners and care workers.

“The country’s 2.5 million domestic workers are on the frontlines responding to a public health emergency of an unprecedented scale—in ways that are often easy to overlook. They are stepping up—just as they have always done—to care for our parents, children and loved ones and to keep our homes clean, orderly and safe,” said Ai-jen Poo, co-founder and executive director of NDWA. “This new program will equip caregivers with information and best practices to keep families safe and healthy as our communities respond to this crisis.” 

The National COVID-Ready Caregiver Certificate uses expert-developed online learning to help CNAs and caregivers develop critical skills to keep themselves, their families and those they care for safe during the pandemic. Through access to self-paced, short-form videos and assessments, senior care workers and caregivers will learn health and safety protocols related to COVID-19 and receive guidance on using personal protective equipment, diagnosing symptoms, caring for the elderly and individuals who are quarantined, and taking precautions to protect themselves and their families.

“Now more than ever, employees are integral to the care our nonprofit members provide,” said Katie Smith Sloan president and CEO of LeadingAge. “Easily accessible and reliable information in the fight against coronavirus is crucial to ensuring the safety and well-being of staff and the older adults they serve. This program is a timely and welcome resource for caregivers, whether they work in nursing homes, in a client’s personal residence or in another care setting.”

NDWA and LeadingAge will share the online course with their members across the country, providing easily-accessible training for workers who are caring for and working with older people and other individuals at high-risk of COVID-19 illness. The NextStep certificate course will be offered free of charge to all workers in the NDWA network. LeadingAge members will be able to provide discounted access to the certification to their employees through an agreement with NextStep. Governmental agencies are also eligible for discounted access to the certification program.

“To stop the spread of COVID-19 and to keep seniors and families safe, it’s critical that we educate the caregivers in our communities on protocols they can follow on the job to reduce the risk of contamination and infection,” said Chris Hedrick, CEO of NextStep. “Winning the fight against COVID-19 means giving our caregivers the tools and training they need. We’re proud to support these national organizations and the millions of workers they represent who are helping reduce community spread and protect our loved ones.” 

The certificate is delivered through a series of 12, short-form videos that workers can easily access and consume through mobile devices while commuting or at home after the workday is complete. Enrollment in the National COVID Ready Caregiver Certificate begins today. For more information, visit