It all started with a staffing challenge. How could Providence Community Health Centers (PCHC) develop highly skilled Medical Assistants who are fully proficient in delivery of care at every practice site? With the support of the Governor’s Workforce Board Non-Trade Apprenticeship Development Grant, PCHC brought a team together comprised of Human Resources, Operations, Education & Training, SEIU1199 delegates and current Medical Assistants. In short, Rhode Island College will provide related instruction leading to national certification. Medical Assistants will rotate to different sites including: Adult Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Podiatry and Optometry during their on-the-job learning. They will be supported by a Preceptor at each rotation with the goal of becoming fully competent at each practice site. Successful completion of the apprenticeship program will result in a wage increase and a certification of completion from the State of Rhode Island.
On October 11, PCHC launched their Apprenticeship program with a Celebration Breakfast. PCHC CEO, Merrill Thomas recognized the four apprentices selected as well as the internal team of PCHC professionals and SEIU1199 partners and delegates. Andrew Cortés, Executive Director of Building Futures | Apprenticeship RI, spoke to the commitment to community that PCHC has demonstrated, and the career path that apprenticeship represents. If you have lost your path while hiking, then you know the fear that comes with losing your way. Like a path in the woods, Apprenticeship provides the space and direction to reach your career goal – even when you encounter obstacles along the way.”
PCHC’s Apprenticeship program would not be possible without generous funding from the Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP), a national labor/management organization that promotes innovation and quality in healthcare career education. Thanks also to PVD HealthWorks for their role in supporting a trained Medical Assistant cohort to back-fill Apprentices’ time spent in training.