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  • Writer's pictureMichigan Works!

Healthcare Apprenticeships

Michigan Works! Boosts the Healthcare Industry with New Apprenticeship Programs

Benton Harbor, Mich.

There’s a shortage of healthcare workers in southwest Michigan and Michigan Works! has the solution to train and upskill over 100 Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) and Personal Care Assistants (PCA) through July 2020, with the implementation of an apprenticeship course. As a result, Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren, is now registered apprenticeship sponsor with the United States Department of Labor with Certified Nursing Assistants and Personal Care Assistants.

In May, the organization announced that the Talent Investment Agency’s (TIA) Workforce Development Agency awarded approximately $1.3 million in U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) State Apprenticeship Expansion grants to eight organizations across the state. Over $224,000 of those funds are being used in southwest Michigan to create and implement registered apprenticeship programs.

“Job seekers and employers come to us to receive training or to train their teams,” said Rick VanIttersum, Vocational Training Manager for Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren. “Our team gets them registered, connects them with a local training provider, and ultimately helps individuals find employment or move up in their current positions. We are finding that this funding has allowed to not only serve more individuals, but it has helped us create a career pathway and establish a long-term solution to supporting the healthcare industry.”

Michigan Works! has been implementing this solution with the help of local training providers, including Lake Michigan College, Southwestern Michigan College, Van Buren Tech Center and the Michigan Career Technical Institute for traditional classroom training.

“The healthcare industry in southwest Michigan has over 10,000 jobs, which is over 10.5% of the workforce,” said Erin Venno, Sector Relations Coordinator for Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren. “By doing these apprenticeship programs, we are helping employers with their long-term goals by increasing retention and loyalty, while improving the skills of their workforce and creating room for growth.”

The Certified Nursing Assistant and Personal Care Assistants program are competency-based programs, so length of the training will be determined by apprentices’ demonstrated capabilities. If you’re a job seeker interested in CNA or PCA training or an employer looking to start a healthcare apprenticeship, please contact Rick VanIttersum, Vocational Training Manager at (800) 285-WORKS, x1126, or


Michigan Works! of Berrien, Cass, Van Buren is part of a statewide network of workforce development boards. Michigan Works! specializes in educating, training, and employing individuals of all ages. We work with local businesses to find out what keeps them up at night and help them tackle the most pressing challenges they may face, including attracting and retaining talent. For more information, visit


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