Nurse Aide and VESL (Vocational English as a Second Language)

In response to the growth of the senior citizen and Latino populations in Pennsylvania and the consequent increased need for culturally and linguistically competent direct care workers, I-LEAD developed the Nurse Aide VESL program.


Increase the number of bilingual, bicultural nurse aides, nurses, and healthcare support workers to serve the increasing number and diversity of health care consumers.

Target Audience

Limited English Proficient (LEP) residents seeking employment as direct care workers

Services Provided

  • Intensive English Language Aquisition (ELA) course focused on language skills and vocabulary relevant to Nurse Aide employment
  • Clinical Nurse Aide training (160 hours) in preparation for Pennsylvania Nurse Aide Exam
  • Bioterrorism preparedness component
  • Mentoring and Placement Services


  • Pennsylvania Department of Labor
  • Center for Disease Control (CDC)

These programs were collaborative efforts involving many prominent local partners in participating communities, such as the Area Agencies on Aging for Berks and Lehigh Counties, Casa Guadalupe Center, the Reading Centro Hispano, Reading Hospital and Medical Center, Lehigh Valley Hospital, the Institute for Caregiver Education, and HCR ManorCare.