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Community Advocacy Organization

Apprenticeships drive Lansing Community College Healthcare Programs

Updated: Apr 7

Photo Credit: Kevin Fowler

Communities thrive when they have access to reliable healthcare, best offered by providers who have been trained to the highest degree. These years of classroom and clinical education can be taxing for students who must work to afford their tuition.

Increasingly, healthcare students can earn as they learn through apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities.

Work-Based Learning allows students to pursue their education and career at the same time. These opportunities might be internships, co-ops, continued learning on the job, or apprenticeships, which are training arrangements between an employer, employee and the U.S. Department of Labor. The apprentice’s employer often pays for tuition. During an apprenticeship, the apprentice receives scheduled wage increases as their skills increase, until the apprentice becomes “highly skilled.”

At Lansing Community College (LCC), Technical Careers Division staff work alongside employers and students to prioritize educational and training goals. For students in Health and Human Services (HHS) Programs, this means determining the professional competencies required of healthcare first responders and tailoring LCC’s instruction to meet these mandated requirements.

Accompanying this, students have the opportunity to practice elements of their lessons in the field, doing tasks related to the work they will finally do after their apprenticeship ends.

Additionally, students engaged in healthcare apprenticeships help address the critical lack of first responders in Michigan.

According to estimates from the Michigan Health Council, the state will require more than 5,500 new paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) through 2030. LCC Director of HHS Apprenticeships and External Partnerships William Emerson believes students can benefit from apprenticeships while contributing their service to public health in Michigan, and nationwide.

“Healthcare apprenticeships are part of a national effort to solve critical workforce shortages by expanding apprenticeships into nontraditional areas,” Emerson said, “Here at LCC’s HHS Division, we offer innovative U.S. Department of Labor-registered apprenticeships in occupations such as medical assistant, EMT, first responder and paramedic. Students benefit from on-the-job training, mentoring and state-of-the-art instruction.”

Because students within LCC programs are apprentices, they earn money as they learn their professional craft before passing their certifying exams. Further, as the apprenticeships are constructed with the active participation of Michigan employers, students are able to network prior to employment.

Emerson credits the ability for students to get paid while going to school as part of the program’s success. “This popular ‘earn as you learn’ model combines employer input, mentoring, and on-the-job-training, with a structured education plan,” he said.

Enrollment in LCC apprenticeship programs for health-related fields is ongoing. For information regarding HHS programs, visit For programs specific to healthcare first responder fields, visit

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