VNA of Care New England Holds Inaugural Graduation

Warwick, RI.   The VNA of Care New England is pleased to announce the graduation of its inaugural class of residents who have completed the VNA of Care New England’s Residency Program for New Graduate Home Health Nurses. The graduation ceremony took place Thursday, September 14, at VNA of Care New England’s home office.

“This residency program has brought an energy and excitement to our agency,” said Kathleen Peirce, RN, MS, vice president of operations, executive director, and chief nursing officer of the VNA of Care New England, in speaking to the new graduates. “I hope that you continue to seek out the resources and opportunities that are here and ready for you. It is our hope that the continuum of care provided through Care New England will allow you to grow as a health care professional within our system. Congratulations to all!”

The graduating class includes Christie Bilodeau, Dawn Landry, Lindsey Lilly, Amelia Mason, Karina Salazar-Marte, and Kendra Santilli. During the ceremony Bilodeau, Landry, and Salazar presented their evidence-based practice research, “Assessing Impaired Cognition in Home Care Patients with Heart Failure,” and Lilly, Mason, and Santilli presented their research, “Assessing Health Literacy in Home Care Heart Failure Patients.”

“It is quite an experience to be a brand new nurse in a patient’s home with multiple complex illnesses, sometimes in less than ideal living conditions. Yet these six nurses did so with finesse. They far exceeded our expectations and we are quite proud of them,” said Lisa DiMaria, PhD, nurse residency program manager and program preceptor. “We know that the best nurses are the ones that keep learning, know where to get their information, and can apply the evidence to their own practice. In doing so, they change nursing, add value to our profession, and exemplify the nurses of the future. Congrats to all the graduates of our first residency program at the VNA.”


Apprenticeship RI is an initiative of Building Futures/RI funded through an American Apprenticeship Initiative grant from the U.S. Dept. of Labor. Assistance is available to all RI employers (outside of the building trades) at NO COST, in designing, implementing and registering new apprenticeship programs. In partnership with the RI Department of Labor and Training, Apprenticeship Rhode Island is working with employers, industry associations, and educational partners to address employers’ workforce development needs.

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Women & Infants Hospital Launches Medical Coding Apprenticeship Program

Collaboration and team work have resulted in the successful launch of Care New England’s first Medical Coding Apprenticeship program at Women & Infants Hospital, and the first Medical Coding Apprenticeship in the state of RI. Care New England’s management team and the labor union, SEIU 1199NE, have worked together to develop every aspect of the apprenticeship program including: measurable competencies, related training and predictable wage increases. They have formed an apprenticeship committee to review program changes, evaluate candidates and have even funded a contracted position that will help expand this exciting work system-wide.

With six new apprentices on board, the results have been immediate. Donna Sprague, Preceptor for the Medical Coding Apprentices says that she attributes the apprenticeship program’s structured on-the-job-learning and mentorship as the reason for the initial cohorts successful adoption of the program. “The Apprentices all know what to expect in order to succeed. They take classes as a cohort, help each other earn passing grades resulting in certification.” The results are more than anecdotal, Renee Vuz, Manager, HIM reports that the department saw a lower bill hold last quarter. “These results allow more movement and cross-functional work between Coders.”

“The goals for this program are large, but very achievable” says Jen Couri, Director of HIM, Coding and Revenue Integrity. “We have already seen an increase in our Coders cross-functional capacity. When Medical Coders can code both outpatient and inpatient records, the hospital experiences increased productivity and billable hours. With a grow your own talent model, we expect to save our department substantial overhead costs.”

In September 2015, Care New England, in partnership with Apprenticeship/RI was the recipient a Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship Initiative grant to expand apprenticeship as a model to industries outside of the trades, including the healthcare sector. To date, Care New England has registered four apprenticeship programs including: Coding, Nursing and Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselor. With multiple occupations in the pipeline, apprenticeship is a model that provides on the job learning, along with classroom instruction, to upskill current employees and provide career pathways system-wide.

Apprenticeship RI and the Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP) have worked closely with all partners to provide support from: program design and registration to curriculum implementation, competency evaluation to mentor/supervising coaching.


The Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP) is a national labor/management organization that promotes innovation and quality in healthcare career education. Its board includes Service Employees International Union (SEIU) locals and healthcare employers across all sectors of healthcare.  H-CAP has experts, tools, and resources to support healthcare employers interested in starting a Registered Apprenticeship program. To learn more about H-CAP, visit:

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Providence Police Academy becomes an Apprenticeship Program

The Providence Police Department has the first apprenticeship program of its kind in Rhode Island.  Because the Providence Police Academy has all the essential elements of apprenticeship – employment from day one, on-the-job learning, related instruction, and wage progression, the Providence Police were able to register as an Apprenticeship program and tap into the workforce development supports open to Registered Apprenticeships.

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Mancini Speaks of Building Futures & Apprenticeship RI

This week in the Providence Journal, Building Futures Board Chair Gregory Mancini published an Op Ed celebrating Building Futures’ 10-year success as a pre-apprenticeship program in the building trades, Mancini outlines Building Futures history and how they secured the resources to establish Apprenticeship Rhode Island – a partnership with Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training to build the capacity of the apprenticeship system and help employers launch apprenticeships outside of the construction trades. 

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Do you really need a Bachelor’s degree to do that?

The rise in jobs that require higher education is real.  But do all those jobs you post with “Bachelor’s degree required” really use that college education and hold the interest of a college graduate?   For starters, Carnevale et al. at the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce found 44% of “college job openings” in Rhode Island are below the Bachelor’s level.  Second, the apprenticeship model helps employers separate and unpack what employees need to get started from what education level they need to grow their career with the firm. 

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