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NextStep is proud to offer CNA training in Colorado, Oregon and Washington. We'll be launching CNA programs in more states soon!

NextStep's innovative CNA training approach is helping solve the caregiver crisis.

Our Story

NextStep was born out of an awareness of two crises in the United States — a shortage of caregivers to support an expanding older generation and growing under- and unemployment due to structural economic factors and inequitable opportunities. Cofounders Chris Hedrick and Charissa Raynor saw an elegant solution — build a community that supports and trains caregivers and offers long-term care providers access to a reliable network of highly qualified Certified Nursing Assistants.

Two years later, the NextStep community is growing in size and results. We’re solving the staffing shortages of over 75 respected long-term care providers in three states by connecting them with new NextStep-trained CNAs and experienced NextStep Plus+ vetted caregivers. We also upskill our employer partners’ existing staff. Our graduates — nearly half of whom were unemployed prior to participating in the NextStep program — see a 59.43% increase in lifetime earnings on average. 

We know NextStep’s model works, and we’re ready to expand. In the months to come, our focus will be on making a national impact on unemployment and access to care as we grow our community of front-line healthcare workers and employer partners across the country. 

2020 Frontline Health Worker Prize

Village Capital and Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures awarded NextStep the 2020 Startup Showcase Frontline Health Worker Prize for creating the most unique product that is solving a major pain point for frontline health workers and/or the patients they serve.

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Our Leadership Team

Chris Hedrick

CEO and Cofounder

Chris Hedrick has extensive public health and education experience. Prior to cofounding NextStep, Hedrick led an Africa-wide malaria prevention program, served as country director for the largest Peace Corps program in the world, and sat on the board of PATH, a global health nonprofit. He also was CEO of Kepler, an innovative online/offline university program in Rwanda and Intrepid Learning, a venture capital-backed learning technology and outsourcing company. He previously served as science and technology advisor to the Governor of Washington. Hedrick was the first employee of the Gates Library Foundation, the precursor organization of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and managed national philanthropic programs for Microsoft. A graduate of Stanford University, Hedrick was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.

Charissa Raynor

Executive VP and Cofounder

Charissa Raynor is nationally recognized as a thought leader on training and workforce development. She has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare and job training. Prior to cofounding NextStep, Raynor was the executive director of a unique 50,000-student, blended-learning educational institution focused on home-based care with 100+ employees and a $250M budget. She holds a master’s degree in health service administration and a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Raynor believes ideas are only as good as a team’s ability to execute on them and that the right people can be the difference between success and failure. She’s an aspiring shakuhachi player, enthusiastic Hindi language student and avid Pacific Northwest hiker. Through the NGO Varanasi for Animals, Raynor is working to help India’s beautiful street animals.

Charlie Morss

Chief Technology Officer

Charlie Morss has more than 30 years of technology experience and 15 years of history working with startups. He was the CTO for Urban Spoon and helped position them for a successful acquisition by Zomato. Morss was also the VP of engineering for Apptentive, the CTO for Audiosocket, and the engineering leader for Stripe and AdReady. He graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a B.S. in computer science. In his spare time, Morss can be found cycling around Charleston, S.C., woodworking, or hanging with his wife and two dogs.

Our Investors

JAZZ Venture Partners invests in companies that extend the boundaries of human performance — improving how we live, learn, work, play and experience the world.

LearnStart, the dedicated seed fund of LearnCapital, invests in innovative learning content, platforms and services engaged in the global transformation of educational engagement, access and effectiveness in formalized schooling and corporate and consumer settings.

Pioneer Square Labs is a Seattle-based startup studio and venture firm that creates, launches and finances technology startups.

Seattle-based SpringRock Ventures focuses on investing in the next cycle of healthcare innovation and funding entrepreneurial teams that are solving important problems in disruptive ways.

SEI Ventures is a testbed for innovations that transform the student experience. They invest in technologies that help students successfully navigate to and through higher education, scale great teaching, and translate educational experiences to the future of work.

Reach Capital supports people and ideas that expand the reach of education — beyond classrooms, to as many people as possible and across divides.

CityLight invests early in impactful companies creating environmental, safety and care, and education solutions where more revenue equals better lives at scale, every time.

ZOMA Capital catalyzes and scales bold and innovative solutions to social and environmental issues facing their home regions of Colorado and Chile.

ETF@JFFlabs is committed to reimagining a more inclusive future of work — a future where technology is used to increase access to learning, employment and economic mobility for all adults.

NextStep in the News

Join Our Team!

Interested in working with a dynamic team on a mission to make the world better? We want to talk to you!

Explore the Possibilities of a CNA Career

Learn more about the CNA life and get details about how to enroll in NextStep’s training-to-placement CNA program.

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