Community partner connections helped make this Medical Assistant apprenticeship a success.
Employer: Littleton Regional Healthcare (LRH)
Location: Littleton, New Hampshire
Community College: White Mountains Community College (WMCC)
Courtney Daniels is the Physician Practices Operations & Project Coordinator for Littleton Regional Healthcare (LRH), who recently partnered with ApprenticeshipNH and White Mountains Community College to sponsor a Medical Assistant apprenticeship program. The initial cohort of 12 apprentices began the apprenticeship in April of 2019, which included front-loaded education at WMCC’s Berlin campus followed by a practicum and on-the-job training at the employer location.
LRH participated in the program as a consortium of north country healthcare companies, including Weeks Medical Center and Androscoggin Valley Hospital. With assistance from ApprenticeshipNH, LRH was able to take advantage of funding available to employers hiring unemployed or low-income adults through the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA). WIOA can help pay an apprentice’s training costs and/or reimburse an employer for wages paid during on-the-job training.
Courtney recently sat down with us to tell us a bit more about what their apprenticeship experience has been like thus far, and how they’ve benefited from the funding resources and recruitment help provided to them by our program.
How were you first introduced to funding sources like WIOA?
CD: We had an initial meeting with representatives from the ApprenticeshipNH team and the WIOA Employment Counselor from the NH Works office here in Littleton. They told us about the services available to us to help fund the program and from there it was a very easy process.
Why did you pursue partnering with ApprenticeshipNH for recruitment?
CD: In part because their ability to provide information was seamless, and it was a proven method – time and time again, the team has been able to help transition job-seekers into the workforce through apprenticeship. They were able to provide support and services to us and to apprentices that we weren’t able to provide ourselves. On top of that, they were so responsive whenever we had questions.
How did the efforts of the ApprenticeshipNH team help make your recruitment efforts successful?
CD: The ApprenticeshipNH team really went above and beyond what we could have done on our own to recruit apprentices. From hosting info sessions/open houses were interested applicants could learn more about the program, to attending job and career fairs in the area, this was all done for us. The ApprenticeshipNH team recruited on our behalf to help us fill the open apprenticeship position we had, that we otherwise would have struggled to fill on our own. We’ve been hiring for open medical assistant positions, with some staying unfilled for years. I can’t tell you how thankful we are to know that our patients will be well-served because we have met our staffing needs.
How many applicants did you get? What was the general quality of the applicants? Did you feel confident that you’d be able to fill the program with the interest you received?
CD: We had 36 applicants apply, and of that group we ended up interviewing five who met all of the program requirements and criteria. The people that we interviewed were incredible – they had good resumes, but they also had great personalities. When you are working in a medical facility and dealing with people that are sick or aren’t feeling well, how you present yourself when interacting with a patient is so important. Considering the fact that they came to the interviews with little to no experience in the healthcare field, it was impressive to see how the candidates interacted with a room full of management-level staff interviewing them. We got the sense that they were excited and ready to learn and start this journey towards a new career. It feels really good to be confident that they will take good care of our patients, but it also feels good knowing that LRH has given these folks an opportunity to take this next step in their career.
Typically, when we interview and screen candidates we’re always looking for a resume that indicates the person has past experience as an LNA or a medical assistant. Because of the education and training components of the apprenticeship, when we interviewed candidates for this program that prior experience wasn’t necessary. The candidates all had really diverse backgrounds and for most of them starting a career in healthcare was something very fresh and new. The passion that they demonstrated was what really left us feeling excited; the candidates were coming to us for a totally different reason. Yes, they wanted to be medical assistants but the circumstances that brought them to us are completely different than what we normally see when interviewing. For the apprentices this isn’t just a job, it’s a career. It was so refreshing to hear their perspective during the interview process.
What advice or suggestions would you give to another employer considering apprenticeship and taking advantage of the recruitment assistance that ApprenticeshipNH can provide?
CD: I don’t think it’s as cumbersome as most businesses think it is. Yes, there is some paperwork involved but the team really helps you through it and assists in completing what is required as best they can. The on-boarding and hiring process is the same as what you’d follow for regular employees. We are definitely learning as we go and there will be things along the way that will help to make things smoother the second time around.
Through WIOA, three of the candidates that we hired had 100% of their tuition paid for and as the employer we are just responsible for their wages which we’d be paying an employee anyways. And even if we had hired a medical assistant coming from another facility, that new employee would still have learn all of our policies and procedures. Either way we’d be spending some time training them. So, I really can’t think of a good reason not to do it.