BERLIN — Filling health-care jobs with well-trained individuals is a mission and passion at White Mountains Community College.
The college has established regional partnerships with high schools and health-care organizations willing to take on interns, and with the support of grant funds, WMCC students are getting the education and training they need to be job ready.
Students are coming to White Mountains Commmunity College through multiple pathways, from high schools that run career and technical education centers, where they can already earn credit towards a degree or certificate within the allied health department; from employers who offer job advancement based on skills enhancements; and from those seeking to enter the workforce for the first time or change careers.
WMCC helps these students gain the practical experience in many allied health degree or certificate programs by placing them in internships across the region.
“We have worked with many of the providers in the North Country and beyond, developed relationships, and placed numerous students in internships that align to their passion and profession,” said Lynn Davis, CPC, CMA, Allied Health department chair and medical assisting program director. “It’s a win-win for the health-care provider and student and often leads to a quality job.”
Allied health professionals comprise nearly 60 percent of the health-care workforce and include nurses, dental hygienists, medical technologists, occupational therapists, medical assistants, phlebotomists and many others.
The academic work on campus includes clinical classes and work to prepare those who are required to pass a professional exam.
“We work hard to get to know our students, their interests and their aspirations,” said Dr. Fran Rancourt, vice president of academic and corporate affairs. “We also work hard to remain connected with our partner organizations so we can learn about critical shortage areas and help provide them with skilled workers.”
One new program designed to meet current needs that will start in the fall of 2017 is a patient care specialist certificate that further trains those working on a LNA degree for acute care training so they can work in an area hospital. This program can serve those students who earned licensed nursing assistant credits through career and technical education centers and could be well on their way to earning an associates’ degree when they finish high school.
Some of the partners include Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Androscoggin Valley Hospital, Ammonoosuc Community Health Services, North Country Health Consortium, Littleton Regional Healthcare, Memorial Hospital, Coos County Family Health Services and Weeks Medical Center.