NEWS RELEASE - Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs to Open their First On-site Nursing Assistant Academy

Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs News Release

Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs to Open their First On-site Nursing Assistant Academy

May 31, 2023 

Olympia The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs is proud to announce the creation of the first WDVA Nursing Assistant Academy.  The training center is in O’Conner Hall on the grounds of the Washington Soldiers Home and will allow the agency to efficiently train and retain direct care staff who are vital to the operation of the State Veterans Homes.

With a nursing assistant vacancy rate of 23.5% across the four State Veterans Homes, WDVA was unable to open beds to Veterans and families who needed rehabilitative or nursing home care.  The new WDVA Nursing Assistant Academy initiative will further the agency’s mission of Serving Those Who Served and allow the agency to provide care to more Veterans and families.

“By developing supported career pathways, WDVA can attract and retain qualified staff, ensuring we can respond to the needs of Veterans and their families, provide quality health services, and operate efficiently and effectively,” said WDVA Director, David Puente. “It also demonstrates our commitment to our existing employees who have the opportunity to attend training and creates supported career pathways for members of the surrounding communities.”

Ultimately, the WDVA NAC (Nursing Assistant Certified) Academy will create opportunities and train outstanding team members to serve the heroes living in our State Veterans Homes.  Students are hired by WDVA as Nursing Assistant Registered and spend 40 hours per week split between classroom time and hands on learning in a State Veterans Home.  Transportation is provided to the training center for students hired at the Washington Veterans Home in Port Orchard.

“Our current number of vacant positions means that we can’t open all our beds to care for the Veterans and families who need us.  The WDVA Nursing Assistant Academy cultivates candidate pools to ensure the agency can fill vacancies and retain qualified staff,” added Puente.

In addition to the NAC Academy, WDVA continues to partner with outside training entities near all four State Veterans Homes to train nursing assistants. These programs help to fill vacancies and the new NAC academy will complement existing programs by providing more flexibility with available spaces, scheduling, and accessibility.

WDVA has repurposed O’Conner Hall, a historic building located on the Washington Soldiers Home in Orting Campus, into a classroom to make space for those participating in the academy.

This is WDVA’s first certified NAC training program, and the first training cohorts will include staff from Washington Soldiers Home in Orting and the Washington Veterans Home in Port Orchard.

Additional information on the WDVA Nursing Assistant Academy can be found at


Heidi Audette
Communications and Legislative Director
(360) 791-8966