New 90-day Medical Assistant training program helps alleviate healthcare worker shortage

Published: Mar. 12, 2022 at 12:03 AM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A local healthcare provider and Goodwill developed a new accelerated medical assistant training program to help alleviate the severe healthcare worker shortage in Southern Nevada.

On Friday, March 11, Goodwill of Southern Nevada hosted a graduation ceremony for the first cohort that completed the ‘90-Day MA,’ Medical Assistant Training Program.

13 graduates received offers of employment for a full time paid apprenticeship with Intermountain Healthcare, a fairly new healthcare system that is looking to grow and hire more than 100 medical assistants this next year.

Goodwill collaborated with NV Careers, NV Partners and Intermountain Health to create the program.

Goodwill provided gas cards, covered the cost of scrubs and other medical equipment. The only requirement is the 90-day commitment.

Andrew Jackson, one of the 13 participants, is a disabled veteran that was struggling to find a career since 2001. He knew he wanted to be in the medical field after taking care of his mom.

“I feel great. I feel like I’m going to have a bright future,” Jackson said.

He said the shortened course was tough, but he got through it with the help of his fellow classmate Toni Hill. Hill was a city bus driver during the pandemic. She liked the program so much, her daughter signed up for the next cohort that’s already full.

“I’m a little older so I kept doubting myself like I am not going to be able to finish the program, but with the help of my sister, my family, my classmates we just kept pushing each other, and pushing each other, and pushing each other,” Hill said.

Next week the graduates will start the apprenticeship at $15 an hour at Intermountain Health. Once they’ve worked 1,400 hours, they will earn a Certified Medical Assistant certificate. From there they can move however far they choose within the healthcare industry.

Mel Bolter moved to Las Vegas because her partner is active duty military. She said there are a lot of resources through Goodwill that support military spouses for career placement.

“The program was very exciting for me because I plan on pursuing medical school in the near future,” Bolter said.

She said the need for more healthcare workers is crucial, especially for the black community.

“Especially to me as an expecting black woman, the black maternal health crisis is one of the reasons I want to go into healthcare and shifting that focus,” Bolter said.

She said this kind of investment into a program is needed.

“The fact that we didn’t have to pay for this, because the need was enough for someone else to invest in individuals that are going to participate in it, and they’re providing an opportunity for a career that’s going to allow for upward mobility- that’s the part that needs to be replicated everywhere,” Bolter said.

Karen Marben, Chief Mission Services Officer for Goodwill Southern Nevada said Intermountain Health came to the table needing a customized and shortened program.

According to Marben, the program hires students into an apprentice role that involves 1,400 on-the-job training hours. On completion of the apprenticeship, prospects could be hired into an MA 1 position.

“MAs have the opportunity to continue to grow and develop through Intermountain’s Career Ladder where they can be promoted to a MA II, MA III, or Coach,” Marben said.

Marben said they’ve created a compelling way to diversify the healthcare workforce.

“For me personally I’m a first generation college goer and somebody gave me a chance so I really think this program is providing a chance to people from underserved neighborhoods, underserved communities who otherwise don’t see themselves in a healthcare career,” Marben said.

You do have to be within a certain income threshold to qualify for the accelerated program.

The next cohort starts in April and is already full.

The next cohort will begin in August. For information, contact Goodwill of Southern Nevada, and they will walk you through the requirements.