New apprenticeship program looks to boost NH’s healthcare workforce

MCC, ApprenticeshipNH and SolutionHealth team up on 12-week medical assistant initiative

Perry Spearman of Manchester, a graduate of the medical assistant program, said it ‘advanced my career and expanded my scope of practice in 12 short weeks.’ (Courtesy photo)

Manchester Community College and ApprenticeshipNH are partnering with SolutionHealth, a regional healthcare network founded by Elliot Health System and Southern New Hampshire Health, to create an apprenticeship program that streamlines a path for healthcare workers to advance in their careers.

The 12-week medical assistant apprenticeship program follows an “earn while you learn” approach, with apprentices receiving eight weeks of full-time paid instruction at Manchester Community College. Afterwards, they must pass the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant National Exam. The apprentices then begin four weeks of on-the-job training at a SolutionHealth provider practice for real-world experience.

Perry Spearman of Manchester was among the first graduates from the program, which helped him get a job with Elliot Family Medicine & Pediatrics at Riverside as a medical assistant. He said it “advanced my career and expanded my scope of practice in 12 short weeks … and allowed me to maintain a full-time wage as an emergency room tech at Elliot Hospital while participating in the apprenticeship,” said Spearman.

The program comes at a critical time when New Hampshire’s healthcare workforce needs a significant boost, said Tracey Jackson, grant manager for ApprenticeshipNH, a workforce program affiliated with the Community College System of NH. She said SolutionHealth’s apprenticeship program may help drive significant improvements to healthcare job opportunities in New Hampshire. “The healthcare industry’s need for skilled employees is significant, and this program helps fill these crucial employment needs,” she said.

ApprenticeshipNH provides a number of Registered Apprenticeship programs in various industries, including manufacturing, automotive technology, business and finance, construction, hospitality, IT and more. By partnering with businesses across the state, the organization has been able to help hundreds of residents find jobs within their field with on-site training and career advancement opportunities.

Leonard Pansa, SolutionHealth’s interim chief human resources officer, said the is one of many to come designed to help attract and retain talent to organizations that care for people in their communities.

“Staffing across the healthcare industry has faced serious challenges. Our ongoing partnership with the Community College System of New Hampshire is one example of how we are overcoming these challenges.”

He added: “We are just getting started — more opportunities are ahead in our work together.”

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