MidMichigan Health’s training programs support continuing learning

MidMichigan Health has rolled out innovative training programs helping students interested in health care fields to launch their careers. The programs offer participants financial incentives, a direct path to full-time employment, and personal mentoring opportunities from faculty and management staff. By providing flexibility, and support systems, MidMichigan hopes to address the needs of entry-level workers faced with a multitude of career possibilities.

“There are ‘Help Wanted’ signs everywhere, so people who are seeking employment or seeking to grow their education have a lot of choices,” says Colleen Markel, M.S.N. R.N., S.H.R.M.-C.P., Director of Talent Acquisition & Workforce Development at MidMichigan Health. “We do a lot of recruitment fairs and we go into high school classrooms and middle school classrooms. We also do job shadows and all types of student rotations to create interest in health care careers.”

Employees can obtain GED while working at MidMichigan Health through new program

Participants in the GED program gain motivation from working closely with staff and knowing that they are hired into a temporary position as soon as they begin the program.Outreach begins with students who have yet to obtain a high school diploma and are struggling to define a path towards stable employment. Together with Education and Training Connection of Midland, MidMichigan Health has established a program that allows students to get their GED while training for a career in housekeeping or dining and catering services. 

When students complete the GED program, they are offered a full-time position at MidMichigan Health, including a comprehensive benefits package. The program pays for the costs of the GED exam and compensates participants for their time spent working while studying for their degree.

“We also have other training programs, so this might be a launching path to a different career,” says Markel. To gain entry into the GED program, students must demonstrate they have the focus and flexibility to balance work with school and lab time.

Shannon Schultz, Operational Manager Environmental Services-Sodexo at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland, attributes success in the 90-day GED program to dedication, advising, and mentorship. Participants gain motivation from working closely with staff and knowing that they are hired into a temporary position as soon as they begin the program.

“You have to constantly support the students,” says Schultz. “When a person is having a hard time or struggling, you have to make sure to tell them ‘you can do this, but I need you to go to school, I need you to take this test.’ There are a lot of people out there that think they could never work in a place like this because they don't have a high school diploma or GED, so they don't try. This program helps them know that they can succeed.”

Together with Education and Training Connection of Midland, MidMichigan Health has established a program that allows students to get their GED while training for a career in housekeeping or dining and catering services. Ryan Angus recently passed all five exams in the GED program and is now successfully working full time in the housekeeping department at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland. He credits his positive outcome in the program to continued support from staff as well as the financial advantages of being able to have a job while learning.

“MidMichigan offered a better opportunity career-wise and their program seemed like the right way to go,” says Angus. “Their program was really good and they had teachers help me through all the subjects. If you are looking to get your GED while earning money, MidMichigan is definitely the way to go.”

Phlebotomy and medical assistant training programs provide options for students

MidMichigan Health is also partnering with Mid Michigan College to host the nine-week Phlebotomy Short-Term Training program, which culminates with a part-time or full-time job offer from MidMichigan Health upon successful completion. Students willing to commit to two years on the job will receive full reimbursement for all training program costs, including tuition, fees, and training supplies. The program is accredited through the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).

MidMichigan Health also offers a phlebotomy and medical assistant program. Both programs offer support for students.Another option is the new Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program accredited through the Michigan Community College Consortium, which allows students to work full-time at MidMichigan Health while earning 39 credits toward their associate degree. The program currently has ten students enrolled, starting in the fall semester.

Funding for the program through MidMichigan Health, MichiganWorks!, and a variety of grants ensures there is no cost for students to gain college credits. After finishing coursework, students can take the American Association of Medical Assistant Certification Exam to become Registered Medical Assistants.

“People in health care careers should definitely be good in subjects like math and science, but also have a passion to care for people in their time of need."The 32-week course includes three days of virtual curriculum and two days of on-site lab training at a MidMichigan Physicians Group office. Students will practice skills with an assigned preceptor throughout the year. In addition to clinical skill building, training will address the emotional aspects of patient care.

Medical assistants perform a variety of duties, including administering tests like EKGs, blood draws, injections, wound care, administrative duties, and even assisting the provider with procedures. They are often on the frontline supporting patients and families as they come to terms with diagnoses and undergo treatment.

“People in health care careers should definitely be good in subjects like math and science, but also have a passion to care for people in their time of need,” says Markel. “You have to have patience, and you have to want to be there at the bedside when people don't feel well in a time of crisis. It takes a special person.”

Learn more about career options with MidMichigan Health at www.midmichigan.org/careers.

Read more articles by Marta Manning.

Marta Manning was born in Poland and relocated to Midland after living in various cities on the East Coast. A lifelong passion for writing and photography prompted Marta to shift her career trajectory from lab science to freelance journalism. She contributes regular articles on medical topics to WebMD.com and helps business clients write proposals for federal research funding. Her articles have appeared in the Chemical City Paper, Our Catholic Faith Midland, the NAMI.org national blog, and the Midland Daily News.
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