Apprenticeships target health care shortages

·2 min read

Aug. 1—THOMASVILLE — Davidson-Davie Community College has created what it calls the largest health care apprenticeship program in North Carolina, with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist as the college's first health care partner.

Students will be able to work in a healthcare profession while taking courses related to their career goals, Holly Myers, dean of health sciences at Davidson-Davie, said in a press release.

"We are thrilled to be able to offer our students — and future students — an incredible array of opportunities within the health care sector through which they can pursue an educational pathway toward their chosen career while also having a stable income," Myers said. "And not only that, but we are supporting the health care workforce and the communities in which we live by educating new professionals to fill much-needed jobs."

The partnership between Davidson-Davie and Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist will involve apprenticeships in medical assisting, medical laboratory technology, nursing, licensed practical nursing, pharmacy technology, central sterile processing, surgical technology and nurse aides.

The college will work with other healthcare partners to establish apprenticeships in health information technology, emergency medical technicians and paramedics.

This program builds off the 2021 collaboration between Davidson-Davie and Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist to launch the state's first registered nurse apprenticeship program.

The apprenticeship program is an example of an innovative strategy for rebuilding the health care workforce, said Deb Harding, the vice president and regional chief nurse executive at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist.

"Staffing shortages exist among all disciplines and ancillary support roles," she said. "This unique partnership not only offers structure that supports and grows the pipeline of health care learners but affords the unique opportunity to engage in new thoughts regarding models of care design and leverage the academic learning health system."

Although the number of spots available for apprentices is limited, there are plans to increase the number over the next few years, the college said. To be eligible, students must be 18 years of age, pass a drug screen and background check and meet all the entry requirements for the educational program. Interested applicants should start by completing the college application process.