By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says at least 1,000 certified nursing assistants will be deployed to long-term care facilities by the end of January to address staffing shortages.

Walz says the new initiative will recruit, train and deploy the nursing assistants for facilities experiencing “severe” staffing issues.

READ MORE: 'It’s Disappointing': Town Hall Brewery Temporarily Closes Amid COVID Surge, Mandates

“Our long-term care facilities are relying on a new generation of certified nursing assistants to provide quality care to their patients. By working with communities, colleges, and care providers around Minnesota, we will recruit and train these new CNAs and ensure we have the staff we need in long-term care,” Walz said. “Our goal is to train 1,000 CNAs in two months to bolster staffing and provide necessary care to Minnesota patients during our COVID-19 response. But not only that: through this training program we can help maintain a stable long-term care workforce for years to come.”

State officials say they aim to use federal American Rescue Plan funding to pay for qualifying expenses associated with CNA courses, including tuition, fees, books, technology needs and more. It’s to ensure the courses are available at no cost to the student.

READ MORE: 'Better Safe Than Sorry': New COVID Rules Begin Next Week

“Thousands of Minnesota families rely on our long-term care facilities to provide specialized medical care to their loved ones,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said. “We’re taking action now to build a future workforce of talented new nursing assistants to make sure these patients and residents receive the quality care they deserve.”

Nursing assistants are the sixth-highest in-demand job in the state, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

In November, Walz announced that 400 National Guard members will train as certified nursing assistants and temporary nursing aides, then be deployed to skilled-nursing facilities around the state.

MORE NEWS: Rochester Institutes Short-Term Mask Mandate