BERLIN — A group of health-care providers in Northern New Hampshire are tapping new resources to help fill key clinical positions.

Androscoggin Valley Hospital, Weeks Medical Center and Littleton Regional Healthcare have launched a new medical assistant registered apprenticeship program.

The program is made possible through a partnership with White Mountains Community College and the ApprenticeshipNH program, which seeks to address workforce needs in various sectors throughout the state through a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training.

Twelve apprentices will complete the inaugural program, which will prepare them to sit for their certified clinical medical assistant exam.

The twelve initial participants in the apprenticeship program are a mixture of incumbent and newly-hired employees whose jobs with the company begin with the program. The program will start with 480 hours of classroom instruction, which will be completed over the course of 12 weeks at WMCC’s Berlin campus. The classroom portion of the program is rigorous, comprising a full-time course load, Monday through Friday, and will include classroom time, lab hours and a practicum ,which will occur at one of the outpatient facilities.

“This apprenticeship program enables participants to deal with the rigors of working as a medical assistant throughout the course of their apprenticeship,” said Charles Lloyd, president of White Mountains Community College.

The program is front-loaded, which means that apprentices must complete all of the classroom instruction hours at White Mountains Community College prior to moving into their on-the-job training.

“By requiring apprentices to complete the classroom portion first, we ensure that they have the education they need to succeed when it comes time to put their knowledge to the test in a real-life health-care environment,” said Lloyd. “This method ensures that apprentices are well-prepared and fully equipped to meet the needs of the medical assistant position.”

The registered apprenticeship program also requires 3,600 hours of on-the-job training, and throughout the course of the apprenticeship, participants will earn wages with incremental raises as the program progresses.

To learn more about the ApprenticeshipNH program, including additional apprenticeship and sponsorship opportunities, go to earnlearnnh.org, or contact Emily Zeien at apprenticeshipusanh@ccsnh.edu.

The program is funded through a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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