Dallas College News Update



​Contact: Liz Scruggs 214-378-5448; MScruggs@DallasCollege​.edu​​

For immediate release — Jan. 31, 2023

(DALLAS) — For those with no prior job experience in a medical setting, a career in health care can begin with a small step — and allied health apprenticeships at Dallas College can be a big help, offering a boost for anyone looking to make a career change that focuses on helping people.

“Our apprenticeship programs in nursing allow students to build a foundation by first getting their feet wet,” said Brenda Chance, a nursing project lead for workforce and advancement at Dallas College, and herself a licensed nurse. “Students can decide after completing their apprenticeship whether they would like to continue toward a nursing degree, while the opportunity remains constant: At every level in nursing, there is a much-needed job, and very often, as with our apprenticeship programs, there is a job to be had while students are learning.”

A continuing grant by the U.S. Department of Labor is what’s helping Dallas College enhance its nu​rsing education while growing a pool of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes or with home health organizations — where a burgeoning unmet labor need is being seen nationally as the U.S. population ages, and as threats to public health from infectious diseases increase, Chance said.

In 2019, Dallas College received a $12 million apprenticeship grant from the Department of Labor to develop training for 7,500 apprentices in approximately 50 critical health care occupations for health care providers, locally and nationally.

The need for nursing assistants, often the first step to becoming a nurse, is at an all-time high, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 194,500 average annual openings for nurses over the next 10 years and employment opportunities projected to grow 9% during that time.

One occupation that has shown high demand for talent over the last few years is CNA, for which Dallas College has developed a new registered apprenticeship program.

“The program works to pipeline students into careers where they can ‘learn and earn’ at the same time,” said Patricia Corley, project lead for workforce and advancement. “Students who sign up for the CNA program have the opportunity to interview and get hired at a home health agency, among other employers, where they join an apprenticeship. On the flip side, employers can enroll their existing employees in an apprenticeship, with training provided by our Dallas College CNA program. It’s a win-win.”

Home Health Companion is the first employer sponsor for the program, which takes about eight weeks to complete. Christian Care in Mesquite has also signed on to take graduates of the CNA apprenticeship program as a registered clinical site.

The eight-week length allows Dallas College to keep the staff-to-student ratio low, Chance said, with apprenticeship cohorts having on average about 10 students. The first apprenticeship cohort for CNAs began this month.

Other apprenticeships that Dallas College has started under the Department of Labor grant include medical office assistant, clinical informaticist, biomedical equipment technician, registered nurse residency, patient care technician, certified medical office assistant, sterile processing technician and MRI technologist.

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