Union Community Care is launching a registered apprenticeship program for employees who want to become certified clinical medical assistants.
Dubbed “Pathways to Progress,” the program is the first of its kind in Lancaster County, the nonprofit health provider said. It allows front-line staff to advance their careers and Union Community Care to fill a critical workforce shortage, President and CEO Alisa Jones said.
Beginning this month, a cohort of 10 participants will take 27 weeks of classes at Central Penn College’s Lancaster campus. Their education will be supplemented with on-the-job training and mentorship.
Upon completion of the program and their certification exam, they will receive accreditation as certified clinical medical assistants from the National Health Career Association.
The program is completely free to participants and any employee who does not already have the certification is eligible, spokeswoman Nicole Specht said.
Union Community Care created Pathways to Progress in partnership with the Lancaster County Workforce Development Board and the Pennsylvania Apprenticeship and Training Office and is underwriting it with grant funding and its own revenues.
“Apprenticeships provide opportunities for underrepresented populations to increase equity to quality jobs,” said Anna Ramos, the Workforce Development Board’s executive director.
For now, the program is only open to Union Community Care employees, but the organization hopes eventually to make it available to the community at large, Specht said.
Union Community Care is a federally qualified health center, providing primary care to patients in underserved communities regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.