Corewell Health West, formerly Spectrum Health, is partnering with a West Michigan community college to create the state's first registered nurse apprenticeship program.
Corewell's Ludington Hospital is partnering with West Shore Community College in Scottville, about 9 miles east of Ludington, for the program.
Representatives from the health system, college, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and Michigan Works! signed the agreement last week at Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant, the health system said in a news release.
Apprentices will be enrolled in the existing nursing program at West Shore and be employed by the Ludington hospital where they will perform on-the-job training. The apprentices will receive salary and benefits from Corewell while in the program.
The program will reduce the time it takes to become a registered nurse to just one year, where a traditional program takes anywhere from two to four years to complete.
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"The rural health workforce faces many challenges, including nursing shortages," Meleah Mariani, chief nursing officer at Corewell Health Ludington Hospital, said in the release. "The registered nurse apprenticeship can open doors for those who otherwise might not pursue a career in nursing. So many times, I have heard someone say 'I always wanted to be a nurse,' but the need to work full-time, the demands of child care, and other associated expenses create roadblocks."
Michigan Works! is expected to provide assistance to the apprentices in the form of coordinating child care, transportation vouchers and other services.
The organizations will now work to develop an admission and application criteria with the expectation of accepting apprentices at an unknown date in 2023.
Corewell did not respond to Crain's request for more details.
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain's Detroit Business.