St. Petersburg College (SPC) was recently awarded a grant from the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) to help develop SPC’s Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Pre-apprenticeship Program.
In view of helping to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 on the state economy, the state provided its Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant, awarding nearly $2.8 million to school districts, colleges and private entities throughout the state to either start or expand registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.
“The Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant puts funding behind a time-tested workforce education model focused on talent development and reducing the statewide skills gap. We understand that some Florida employers who utilize the registered apprenticeship model to train their workforce may have halted their operations due to COVID-19,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “As we announce the second award phase, I stand ready to assist employers and apprentices so getting a great education in high-demand fields can continue.”
SPC will receive $199,739 to establish a Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) Pre-apprenticeship Program that will support the growing workforce need for medical assistants.
With healthcare organizations experiencing an explosion in growth even before the recent COVID-19 outbreak, many are relying more on paraprofessionals, such CMAs, for a variety of needs, including patient education, case management, disease prevention, mental health, coding, and reimbursement. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 23 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.
“This grant comes at a time when the demands on our healthcare system are enormous,” said SPC President Dr. Tonjua Williams. “We are deeply committed to providing high quality training that will help meet the critical need for professionals in the medical field while providing opportunities for students to gain employment and economic stability.”
SPC’s CMA Pre-apprenticeship Program will build on an existing partnership between SPC’s Workforce Institute, Community Health Centers of Pinellas, and other healthcare industry partners. The program will help students gain education and experience while creating a pipeline of skilled workers to enter the medical field. The program will also be a gateway
for those interested in further pursuing a career in the medical field, such as in nursing or radiology.
The grant will provide the means to develop a formalized pre-apprenticeship program, as well as provide classroom and training support for CMA students through greater access to equipment and supplies.
For more information about the Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant Program, visit www.fldoe.org/pathwaysgrant.