In recognition of Workforce Development Month, we’re highlighting an exceptional alumnus of The New Jewish Home’s SkillSpring program. Meet Jimmy Perpina, RN.
Pursuing a career caring for older adults was a goal Jimmy Perpina, RN, set when he was just 15 years old. As a high school sophomore at Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science in the Bronx, Jimmy joined SkillSpring (formerly known as the GCD Program), The New Jewish Home’s transformational workforce development initiative that propels underserved youth towards a career path in health care. Over the next three years, Jimmy trained to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and developed trusting bonds with residents at Jewish Home’s Manhattan nursing home. His high performance allowed Jimmy to pursue additional certifications beyond CNA—in phlebotomy, EKG and patient care—all before graduating high school.
The combination of his clinical excellence, along with the soft skills Jimmy acquired while interacting with his elder mentors, nursing home residents, is what sets him apart today and makes him beloved by residents and families. Nurse Manager Lilian Gomez fondly remembers Jimmy on the floors as a SkillSpring student. “From the very beginning, he was eager to learn and always asking questions. What impressed me the most was he treated all of our residents with dignity, compassion and respect.”
Upon graduating SkillSpring, Jimmy enrolled in a LPN program at Monroe College, and worked at Jewish Home part time as a CNA to support himself. He graduated with his LPN degree in 2020. While working part-time as a LPN, he went back to school for his BSN degree, and he graduated and became a registered nurse in 2022. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Jimmy worked at The New Jewish Home, an experience that further solidified his dedication to the aging services field. “It became clear that nursing was my calling—being there for our residents in their time of need and contributing to the care team was extremely important.”
Jimmy regularly goes above and beyond to provide person-directed care to his residents and patients. He credits his motivation to his close relationship with his grandmother, who helped raise Jimmy, and the long-term residents who have supported him since he was a high school student. They’re proud of how much he has advanced in his career and affectionately still call him “Little Jimmy” when they see him.
Clinical Care Manager Darlene Corporan met Jimmy when he was a high school student and worked alongside him for years. She remarked, “Jimmy is not only a team player — he inspires and motivates our vulnerable population while delivering phenomenal care.” He consistently places the needs of his patients and residents first, and rolls up his sleeves to get the job done. He’s quick to notice if a patient appears to be in pain or if they have the wrong meal. Jimmy’s the first one to make a call to double-check medication, and he’ll personally go down to the kitchen to bring up the right meal. A testament to his compassionate care, Jimmy is often asked by patients if they can come back to visit him upon discharge.
At just 25 years of age, Jimmy has already spent a decade training and working at The New Jewish Home. In addition to being an accomplished nurse, he mentors SkillSpring high school participants at The New Jewish Home. They shadow Jimmy on the floors, where he teaches them skills and provides valuable clinical and career insights. Reflecting on his role as a mentor, he remarked, “I truly enjoy giving back to the program that started me on the career I love and inspiring students that they, too, can achieve their dreams is so meaningful. They see me, someone who came from the same background and circumstances, and they know it’s possible.”
Created in 2006, SkillSpring (f/k/a Geriatrics Career Development/GCD) addresses both the growing shortage of geriatrics care workers and provides health care career ladder opportunities to young people from under-resourced communities. SkillSpring’s hands-on experience, paid internships, course instruction resulting in health care credentials, and job training lead to guaranteed living-wage jobs in health care. To date, more than 1,100 young people have graduated SkillSpring, and The New Jewish Home is expanding the program across New York.
To learn more about SkillSpring, please contact Nicole Cash, SkillSpring Director, at NCash@jewishhome.org.