Kalamazoo health center tackling staffing shortage through its own training program

Family Health Center Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program
Posted at 6:14 AM, Aug 24, 2022

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A West Michigan health center has created a program to help tackle a staffing shortage locally.

It's a 23-week course for people interested in becoming medical assistants and all you need is a GED to qualify.

The best part? You're guaranteed a job after.

The program is unique because participants are paid during those 23-weeks, so there's no need to worry about missing a paycheck to gain the certification.

It involves both in-class and on-the-job learning.

"There's a significant dearth of medical assistants in the clinical space here, not only in Kalamazoo, but also throughout the country," said Family Health Center's Executive Director of Human Resources JB Williams.

The Family Health Center (FHC) decided to tackle the staff shortage on its own.

"When we don't have adequate workforce, in order to provide care to our patients, and to our residents here in Kalamazoo County, it presents itself in a number of different ways, delays in the ability to be seen by a clinician, or delays and the wait times when you're actually in the clinic," said Williiams.

FHC created the training institute back in 2019, but it was halted due to the pandemic.

This year, it has finally been brought back to help fill medical assistant positions.

"The medical assistant is primarily responsible for checking vitals for their patients, for rooming the patients, discussing with them their after visit summary, what any additional follow up that has been recommended by the provider that has been treating the patient and really making sure that they coordinate the care in the pod or in the back office," said Williams.

FHC funds the program themselves, knowing getting paid to learn can make a big difference.

"It's critically important, particularly for people who are find themselves in a situation where they still need to have income in order to provide for themselves and for their families," said Williams.

All they ask in return is for a three year commitment upon completion.

"We really are interested in individuals who have a compassion to serve and really want to help support the health care and the health wellness of our patients here in Kalamazoo," said JB Williams.

Applicants must have a high school diploma and a good work history.

It is not required to have a health background.

The new cohort begins November 7, 2022. Informational sessions began August 3,2022 for potential candidates to hear more.

Click here for more information or to apply.

Family Health Center said they will also be starting up dental assistant and pharmacy technician training programs to tackle the needs there as well.