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Employer Spotlight: Singing River Health System

Employers in the #healthcare industry can play an invaluable role in advancing rewarding and equitable careers within our industry!

This #NationalApprenticeshipWeek, we are excited to spotlight our partners at Singing River Health System, the first employer to bring Registered Apprenticeships in healthcare to the state of Mississippi.

Singing River Health System is a leader in apprenticeship development, and currently runs three programs: Surgical Tech, Phlebotomy, and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) apprenticeships. In the next year, the company will also be adding Licensed Practice Nurse and Registered Medical Technician programs which will train thousands of critically needed frontline caregivers!

Across Mississippi, healthcare employers have faced an ongoing shortage of skilled workers. Many of the local colleges do not offer the technical programs that healthcare workers need to earn new certifications and advance their careers.

Last year, Singing River stepped in to fill this void in the workforce by establishing their groundbreaking Registered Apprenticeship programs.

“Registered Apprenticeship programs will have a tremendous impact on healthcare in Mississippi,” says Deano Harrison, Singing River’s HR program specialist.

Harrison oversees Singing River’s nearly 50 currently participating apprentices - and plans to grow the programs to 80 apprentices by the end of this year. “As an employer, we needed a way to get students into the healthcare workforce more quickly and grow and supplement our recruiting pipeline. Our programs are training workers to a higher level, which will raise healthcare standards across the state.”

Singing River’s apprenticeship programs also provide opportunities for professional development to workers who otherwise might not have the time or financial resources to earn the needed certifications to advance their careers.

“We have single parents in the program who couldn’t quit their jobs and go to school full-time because so many programs only offer night classes,” said Harrison. “Folks who want to work in healthcare who previously could not afford to go to school without being paid can now move from being a CNA to an RN on a much faster timeline.”

Harrison also notes that having apprentices on site has increased morale and raised the working standards of employees across the company. “Everyone is more enthusiastic about coming to work and sharing their knowledge,” he says.

Harrison hopes that the apprenticeship programs at Singing River can become a model for healthcare employers across the state. In Mississippi, healthcare apprenticeships are very new, but employers like Singing River are bringing them into the spotlight.

Thank you to Singing River and Deano Harrison for sharing your inspiring work, and your partnership in transforming our industry for greater equity!



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