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California Dental Association’s Smile Crew CA program putting Californians back to work

Program that trains displaced workers as dental assistants expands

February 28, 2022 198

Sacramento, Calif. — The California Dental Association is pleased to announce the expansion of its Smile Crew CA pilot programs that offer free dental assistant training and job matching with available positions. The program launched in San Francisco and expanded to San Diego to create job opportunities for people who were displaced by the pandemic or are interested in pursuing a new career that is in high demand.

Smile Crew CA has provided nearly 80 participants with the opportunity to learn basic skills for a dental assisting career, including dental terminology, HIPAA compliance and infection control protocols, as well as obtain certifications required for dental assisting. After the four-week “bootcamp” sessions, most participants were successfully placed in positions or are completing their externships prior to placement.

“The Smile Crew CA program is successfully providing new career opportunities for people who may have lost their jobs during the pandemic, while addressing the need for trained dental assistants to serve the oral health care needs of Californians,” said Dr. Judee Tippett-Whyte, past president of the California Dental Association. “CDA created this program to address the statewide shortage of dental assistants and continue our strong commitment to increasing access to care and supporting dentists and dental team members in their service to the public through innovation in education.”

In addition to funding from CDA, the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency worked with CDA to identify public/private funding to expand dental assistant training to areas of greatest need, resulting in a significant grant from the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation.

“Delta Dental Community Care Foundation is pleased to support Smile Crew CA that helps people impacted by the pandemic pursue a path to meaningful careers in the dental field,” said Kenzie Ferguson, vice president of foundation and corporate social responsibility for Delta Dental of California. “Not only is this beneficial program getting residents of California back to work, it also honors the Foundation’s mission of improving access to oral health, supporting oral health education and uplifting the communities we serve. It’s win, win, win.”

The Smile Crew CA program is particularly timely as the pandemic recovery has opened opportunities for Californians to seek new job training. CDA is working with the labor agency to expand the scale of training.

“The Smile Crew CA pilot program is an exciting model of what can be accomplished when industry, government and community work together to create new career pathways into solid jobs in dental care,” said Abby Snay, deputy secretary for the Future of Work with the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

To learn more about dental assistant training, visit Smile Crew CA.

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California Dental Team

California has a robust and highly trained dental workforce, with more than 35,000 dentists, 30,000 assistants and 18,000 hygienists licensed to provide dental care throughout the state.