National Apprenticeship Week spotlight: Henry Ford’s health

From 13 November to 19 November, hundreds of employers, community organisations, education providers and others are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week (NAW). They organize events to showcase the successes and value of internships.

As a founding member of the Michigan Apprenticeship Network (MiAN) – formerly known as the Detroit Apprenticeship Network (DNA) – the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of many organizations celebrating NAW. It publishes a weekly content series highlighting MiAN member companies that host apprenticeship programs and notes the impact apprenticeship programs are having as a talent solution for filling high-growth, high-demand positions.

Below is the Chamber’s latest highlight with Henry Ford Health.

Henry Ford Health is a leading provider of health care and medical services in the Detroit region. They are leading the way in healthcare apprenticeships as a strategy to recruit and retain talent when there are urgent recruitment needs in the sector.

Henry Ford Health’s apprenticeship programs are designed to provide opportunities for clinical knowledge and skill development for prospective and current team members who want to build a career in healthcare. They develop team members to become nursing assistants, medical assistants, eye care assistants and pharmacy technicians. In collaboration with its operational stakeholders, it is building radiologic technologist and surgical technologist programs to support its workforce development strategy to strengthen and build its workforce from within.

The need for programmatic support at Henry Ford Health was evident as the industry experienced a decline in available talent and the talent landscape became increasingly competitive both within and outside the healthcare industry. In 2020, it responded to the high demand for Nursing Assistants, Pharmacy Technicians, and Ophthalmology Assistants by developing on-the-job training and programming.

He receives funding from the GoingPro Talent Fund to support his apprentices. Workforce agencies, like Michigan Works!, play a key role as collaborators and partners in identifying talent, providing financial support and providing comprehensive services that remove barriers to employment for team members.

In this competitive talent ecosystem, innovative approaches are needed to meet the needs of employers, and the apprenticeship program at Henry Ford Health has proven to be successful. Providing career paths and development opportunities for team members and helping them on their way to a thriving career is the greatest benefit to the organization.

Henry Ford Health works to support its mission: to improve lives through excellence in the science and art of health care and healing, starting with its own team members. Developing and cultivating internal talent creates ongoing opportunities to deliver superior care to the communities they serve.

However, the provision of apprenticeship programmes, particularly in the healthcare sector where apprenticeships have not always been available, can also present challenges. Creating models to support the apprenticeship program provided opportunities for collaboration and new ways of thinking about how to build and develop team members. Leaders at Henry Ford Health needed to think beyond traditional means of training and certification and shift their thinking to investing in and developing inspired people. Rethinking partnerships and aligning partners with strategic imperatives has been a game-changer in Henry Ford Health’s talent strategy.

The apprenticeship program also changed the rules for team members like Yusif T., a nursing assistant who shared, “I was working in the emergency room doing registration and the nursing assistant apprenticeship allowed me to get into patient care, which is, which I really wanted to do. I learned a lot about patient education, walking patients, dressing patients, etc. I would tell anyone going through this program to take it seriously and it will prepare you for your position as a Nursing Assistant.”

Henry Ford Health’s message to other employers looking to launch apprenticeship programs centers around the needs of employers and job seekers.

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