Centura partners with community college to train workers

LITTLETON — Centura Health, which operates Longmont United Hospital and Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville, among others in the state, has joined with Arapahoe Community College to launch Colorado’s a registered Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program designed to meet workforce needs.

A dozen students are enrolled in the initial cohort of the work-based program. Funding for the program is coming from the Colorado Workforce Development Council, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Centura Health, and Colorado First and Existing Industry Grants jointly administered by the Colorado Community College System and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

“We are excited to embark upon this unique partnership with Centura Health to benefit both students and industry,” said Arapahoe Community College President Diana M. Doyle, Ph.D.  “We extend our gratitude to everyone at Centura Health, the Greater Metro Denver Health Care Partnership and local workforce centers who are committed to supporting this program.  Our efforts will provide a sustainable pipeline of talented medical assistants across the Centura network.”

The six-month hybrid program is comprised of online, on-site and hands-on laboratory components. Paid apprentices work collaboratively with Centura Health supervisors for 26 weeks prior to taking the National Healthcare Association Medical Assistant certification exam. Apprentices who successfully complete both components become full-time medical assistants with Centura.

While this is Centura Health’s second program cohort, the partnership with the community college made it possible to condense what is normally a two-year education track into a focused six-month program that blends education and hands-on training, according to a press release from Centura and the college.

“Centura Health established this apprenticeship program as a way to creatively address today’s supply and demand challenges for qualified health care talent,” said Susie Artis, associate administrator for professional practice and education, Centura Health Physician Group. “This apprenticeship demonstrates Centura Health’s mission, values and commitment to elevating people by providing opportunities for those who may not have been able to pursue a career in health care. We are exploring ideas to add similar programs with other roles.”

Editor's note: This story originally said it was the first registered apprenticeship program for medical assistants in the state. It has been edited because another program, a collaboration between Front Range Community College and Associates in Family Medicine in Fort Collins, was discovered. That program has graduated its first students who received both their college certificate, are nationally certified and have received the Department of Labor credential.