“How do you feel the mission and goals of Mercy Health align with your organization’s?” This question was posed as an interaction cell phone poll during the second annual Building Talent Bridges event. During this event on Thursday, March 31, Mercy Health gathered a group of more than 60 people representing organizations such as the Grand Rapids Urban League, West Michigan Works!, Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University, to collaborate to focus on solving gaps within the health care workforce.
Those who were polled responded favorably, indicating that leaders within the community’s educational organizations, workforce development agencies and community-based organizations felt that their organizations could continue collaborating with Mercy Health in order to build a stronger community through a more diverse workforce within health care.
After the first Building Talent Bridges event in March 2015, Mercy Health collaborated with several organizations to create the nation’s first Medical Assistant (MA) Apprenticeship Program. Specially designed for people who have had a desire to become a medical assistant, but never had the resources or opportunity, 70% of tuition costs are covered through grants and also funding from West Michigan Works! Thanks to this program, there are currently 22 MAs employed throughout the community, with 17 of them employed by Mercy Health regionally.
Mercy Health’s goals for the future include expanding the success of the Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program into other high-demand fields within health care. The organization also seeks to continue building the regional talent supply chain through other methods of health care education and training opportunities.