LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A local organization that helps prepare at-risk youth to become productive members of the community received more than $1.5 million to train young people for jobs in health care.

Since 2000, YouthBuild Louisville has provided education, job training and leadership programs for low-income young adults to help realize their potential as productive community leaders. Students taking part in the program practice with simulated patients that are treated like the real thing. They even have names, like Ms. Molly. Students are taught to address their patient by name and explain what they're about to do. 

"Hello, Ms. Molly. My name is MJ and I am going to change your stockings today," M.J. Jewell, an instructor, before beginning a procedure Monday.

Students are taught the importance of making sure patients are secure. 

"You're never going to leave her side," one instructor said. "Because you don't want to risk her falling over."

Students got some important, bedside training Monday afternoon.  

"I was having a hard time  staying focused in online school," said Keybra Martin, a student in the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program.

Martin said she came to YouthBuild to get refocused. Getting her high school diploma helped Martin get back on track and into the CNA program.

"I would have never thought like from like five years ago that I would be graduating and taking CNA classes and pursuing the nursing route," she said.

The students practice on manikins, but Jewell said they're not nameless.

"We call them Steven and Molly," Jewell said. " They're not just dummies laying there. I want them to understand that that's a patient. It makes it more personal for them."

The program allows students to focus on the work and not worry about things like tuition or other financial burdens.

"We will pay for their certification," Jewell said. "We will pay for their courses. We will pay for materials that they need. We will provide them with scrubs, stethoscopes."

Lynn Rippy, president and CEO of YouthBuild Louisville, said the program also addresses a crucial need for young people in Louisville.

"When we're able to afford them the opportunity to find themselves and become competent academically and in their field of work, it's a game-changer," Rippy said.

Martin said it will be a way of giving back, providing an opportunity for another passion.

"It's more so for me, being the help that I didn't have," Martin said.

The next CNA class YouthBuild Louisville starts in August. To find out how you can enroll, click here.

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