Oct. 22, 2015; MLive
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – West Michigan hospitals and community colleges have launched Michigan’s first accredited apprenticeship program for medical assistants.
The program aims to meet a pressing need in the region’s health care workforce by offering students a chance to combine education with paid jobs.
“These apprenticeships allow students to work while they gain skills toward the national registered medical assistant credential,” said Linda Witte, program developer for health programs for Grand Rapids Community College.
Three community colleges are providing training – Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Montcalm. Jobs are provided by Mercy Health, Cherry Health, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Spectrum Health.
The program was created with West Michigan Works and the U.S. Department of Labor. Organizers say it is the first in the nation to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
The program begins in January. West Michigan Works will screen applicants and refer them to employers that have entry-level positions. Once hired, the applicants enroll in a community college apprenticeship program.
The students will likely work 20-24 hours a week and spend 20-24 hours a week in training, said Jackie Keller, a human resource business partner manager for Mercy Health.
Medical assistants perform a variety of roles – they take vital signs, draw blood, perform EKGs and handle medical records. Pay can range from $13 to $19 an hour, depending on experience and competencies, Keller said.
Those interested in applying for the apprenticeship are encouraged to contact a local Michigan Works office.