(WFRV) – The Wisconsin National Guard is training its troops to become certified nursing assistants and help combat staffing shortages in local healthcare facilities.

According to Governor Evers, in an effort to free up capacity at hospitals and nursing facilities, members of the National Guard are being trained by experts at Madison College to become certified nursing assistants.

Gov. Evers shared that this week alone, around 50 Wisconsin National Guard members were deployed to six nursing homes across the state with approximately 80 additional members expected to be deployed at the end of January.

“As we continue to see COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge, we are pursuing every available option to bring needed staffing support to Wisconsin’s health systems,” said Gov. Evers.

Officials predict this new effort will allow nursing facilities to open up 200 or more beds by the end of February.

Bellin Health also announced Thursday that they will welcome 10 Certified Nursing Assistant trainees from the Wisconsin National Guard which will allow them to continue expanding their services.

“We are tremendously grateful to the National Guard for providing us this much-needed assistance at this critical time,” said Bellin Health President and CEO Chris Woleske.

“The Wisconsin National Guard has been heavily engaged in the battle against COVID-19 since day one of this pandemic,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp. “We see ourselves as neighbors helping neighbors, and when we say that, we mean it. We will continue to assist our state in any way we can because we live and work in these same communities across Wisconsin.”