Building a Community-Sourced Health Care Workforce through Registered Apprenticeships

By nThrive | Posted: 01/17/2017

Earlier this week, Tom Ormondroyd, President, Education and Analytics at nThrive, gave the keynote speech at the U.S. Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship Initiative Grantee National Meeting in Washington, D.C. His keynote emphasized the importance of apprenticeships in a rapidly growing industry that is leading to a shortage of key skilled talent, and how nThrive is helping healthcare organizations and its own organization address this shortage by building a community-sourced workforce through registered apprenticeships.

Almost $90 million in funding has been awarded by the United States Department of Labor (DOL) for Apprenticeship USA, a program initiated to help reach the goal of expanding the amount of Registered Apprenticeships by year 2019. The ultimate objective of this program is to create more opportunities for workers to land middle class jobs resulting from hands-on apprenticeships in which the workers are paid to learn new trades. Health care is one of the industries in which grantees have committed to expanding apprenticeship programs.  These programs have proven their success by using further education to aid career advancement for many workers across the country.   

Health care provider organizations must find innovative ways to identify and develop the next generation of skilled employees. Ormondroyd’s presentation explained how nThrive is partnering with organizations to create apprenticeships for unemployed, underemployed and veteran populations, while addressing the shortage of skilled employees. nThrive developed a program in partnership with a Vermont non-profit government agency (Vermont HITEC) and the Vermont Department of Labor, to rapidly educate and develop medical coders from a candidate pool which had little or no healthcare experience. In fall of 2015, graduating class members passed their American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) Certified Professional Coder-Apprentice (CPC-A) certification exams.  These 10 candidates are now currently employed as full-time nThrive coding colleagues who met their requirements as an AAPC coding apprentice.

A second coder class was completed in the first half of 2016 when another 18 apprentice coders graduated and also completed their CPC-A certification.  Starting in fall of 2016, a Certified Tumor Registrars (CTR) program was implemented for the first time in the partnership between nThrive and VT-HITEC, demonstrating that the program can be applied to other job roles besides medical coders. “The challenges in finding and building a skilled workforce in today’s healthcare marketplace make it important for employers to partner with government through intermediaries,” says Tom Ormondroyd, President, Education and Analytics at nThrive. “nThrive partnered successfully with Vermont HITEC to rapidly recruit, educate, and employ a first-class suite of healthcare professionals for a very reasonable investment of resources,” says Gerry Ghazi, President of Institute for American Apprenticeships at Vermont HITECH.

Following this revolutionary project, other leading healthcare providers are beginning to invest in the development of revenue cycle workforces from the ground up, with the help of nThrive. Wake Forest Health System (WFHS) in Wake Forest, NC, has partnered with nThrive to initiate a project to build its own coder workforce from a local population of military veterans. First-term veterans tend to have a hard time landing jobs, and approximately 16.2% of veterans in the labor force between 18 and 24 years old are jobless. This program provides a supply of highly dedicated, hard-working, skilled professionals to the workforce.

nThrive is looking to expand this apprenticeship program across the revenue cycle. There are currently no schools graduating students specifically for revenue cycle positions or roles. nThrive Education has courseware for multiple roles to assist in cultivating talent for these roles, while preparing these professionals for certification and credentialing where applicable.

To read the full success story regarding nThrive’s transitions program , click here.