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Release Date: 
Monday, May 21, 2018

First medical assistant apprenticeship program in the region

Medical assistant wearing gloves pulls a compression sleeve onto a patient's arm

Henry Ford College has formed a partnership with Oakland County Michigan Works! Oak Park, Henry Ford Health System, and Oakland Community College to offer a medical assistant apprenticeship program – the first of its kind in southeast Michigan at no cost to the student.

According to Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, this partnership provides $8,000 in classroom instruction and on-the-job training, paid for by Henry Ford Health System, as well as a $12 hourly wage to qualified candidates who enroll in the year-long program at either HFC or OCC. The apprenticeship program will accept 10 students this summer. Plans ae underway to expand next year.

“Medical assistants are among the top 10 in-demand jobs in healthcare in our county,” said Patterson. “This innovative apprenticeship will help alleviate the shortage of certified medical professionals and provide a rewarding career path. Free instruction plus an hourly wage. This is an incredible opportunity to enter the healthcare field without high student debt.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the need for medical assistants across the country will grow by 23 percent through 2024. In Michigan, 720 medical assistant jobs are expected to be added annually in the state’s healthcare sector during this period.

How the new program works:
1. Oakland County Michigan Works! Oak Park pre-screens candidates and works with HFC, HFHS, and OCC to coordinate entry into the apprenticeship program.
2. Medical assistant apprentices, under the direct supervision of a mentor, perform a variety of tasks to provide quality patient care.
3. The one-year program combines classroom instruction with onsite training.
4. Upon completion, students will receive a U.S. Department of Labor certificate and a certificate from HFC or OCC.
5. Students selected for the program will be hired by HFHS and will remain with the organization if they successfully complete all of the requirements, which includes passing a national certification exam.

Salary for a medical assistant is $15 per hour and includes full benefits.

“Medical assistants are an integral part of the health care team,” said Susan Shunkwiler, HFC Dean, School of Health and Human Services. “We are so thankful for our partners at Henry Ford Health System, Oakland County Michigan Works! Oak Park, and Oakland Community College for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to this project. Innovative, creative ideas like these are sure to transform education and health care systems.”

The requirements for the applicants are:
• Must be 18 years or older
• Must have completed a high school diploma or GED
• Must provide official transcript(s) of any post-high school education
• Must pass a criminal background check
• Must be physically capable of performing essential functions of the medical assistant apprentice with or without reasonable accommodation and without posing a direct threat to the health and safety of the individual or others
• Must pass a pre-employment health screening: nicotine, urine drug testing, MMR, Varicella and hepatitis B, flu injection, TB skin testing, respirator fit testing, and color vision testing

For more information about the new program, contact:
Elizabeth Hoffman, Medical Assistant Program Director
Health Careers Education Center, G-133B