Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted (left) and Dr. Marcia Ballinger (right) witnessing nursing students perform on a dummy. Submitted photo

Special to The Collegian

Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted and Chancellor Randy Gardner joined Lorain County Community College and regional employers as the College unveiled its first apprenticeship pathway in Healthcare.  

The goal of the apprenticeship program is to help fill the healthcare talent pipeline in Northeast Ohio with a workforce that is trained and prepared through experiences developed at LCCC and refined at regional healthcare organizations.

“Healthcare apprenticeships are a strong model for the future to help people break into the healthcare industry, supply employers with the talent they need, and provide better care to Ohio patients,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “I applaud Lorain County Community College for leading on this issue and helping to solve critical workforce needs in Northeast Ohio.”

Healthcare organizations have historically integrated on-the-job learning as part of their employee training and this apprenticeship pathway builds upon that long-established practice. This new program offers apprenticeship opportunities for regional healthcare employers and employees starting with STNA (State Tested Nursing Assistants) positions. STNA apprentices completing the program will earn 15 college credits with tuition assistance, receive 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training and earn an industry recognized credential with the opportunity to continue their education on a structured pathway from STNA to LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) to RN (Registered Nurse). The College is developing additional healthcare apprenticeship pathways including EMS to Paramedic to RN. 

The College is partnering with LeadingAge, a nonprofit trade association that represents 400 long-term care organizations and hospice centers, to engage employers in the development and implementation of this new program.  The first cohort of STNA apprentices started classes this fall at partnering organizations, Wesleyan Village and Lutheran Home.

“Apprenticeship programs are valuable recruitment and retention tools for employers to use to build their talent pipelines,” said LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D.  “We are pleased to be partnering with LeadingAge Ohio in the development of this apprenticeship pathway in healthcare.”

The program is designed to bring value to both employers and employees as a talent development strategy.  “Our team will help employers develop the core components of an apprenticeship program that best fits their organization,” Ballinger said.  This includes completing all state-required documentation, offering on-site advising and college placement assessment to employees, working with human resource and management teams to develop the right curriculum, and securing employer stipends that are available from the State of Ohio for each new apprentice.

Goals of the program

The program’s goals include:

•Reduce turnover in positions with high attrition rates

•Provide opportunities for workers who want to advance but lack requisite education or credentials

•Provide a comprehensive instruction program for graduates of certificate programs who can further benefit from hands-on experience

•Build career ladders for healthcare workers that reduces employee turnover and onboarding costs

•Increase diversity in the healthcare workforce

•Provide healthcare workers on-the-job experience with guidance from experienced mentors or coaches

 “LeadingAge Ohio is fortunate to have a strong partner in Lorain County Community College in developing and executing these exciting apprenticeships,” said Kathryn Brod, LeadingAge President and CEO. “As LeadingAge Ohio continues to pursue workforce solutions to support our aging services providers across the state, we look forward to continued efforts with LCCC to train the frontline aging services and healthcare workforce of tomorrow.”

 “We’re confident that healthcare apprenticeships will provide additional benefits to our students seeking employment in one of the many healthcare related careers in Northeast Ohio,” Ballinger said. “As a leader in the region in training healthcare professionals we are always looking for ways to make their educational experiences more valuable so they will be able to hit the ground running when they get hired.” 

Today’s announcement supports a larger statewide priority to expand apprenticeships to in-demand industries such as advanced manufacturing, information technology and healthcare.  For the past ten years the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) and the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) have partnered to develop statewide agreements in curriculum design with the various trades apprenticeship programs approved by ApprenticeOhio and 23 community colleges.

“This is a celebration of what we can achieve with partnerships in Ohio, especially in allied health careers that really make a difference,” said Randy Gardner, Chancellor, Ohio Department of Education.

These aligned, statewide agreements positioned Ohio to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.  This grant allowed for the development of The Ohio College Apprenticeship Consortium which provides tuition reimbursement to participating students for completing pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship programs in occupations identified as in-demand by local businesses.  

For more information, interested employers should contact Chrissy Cooney, business engagement coordinator, at (440) 366-4325 or ccooney1@lorainccc.edu.