News from the Upper Peninsula Regional AHEC

CCMA Upskilling Program

In an effort to mitigate staffing shortages, support retention efforts, provide career paths, and reduce barriers to continuing education for current employees, the Upper Peninsula Area Health Education Center (UP AHEC) and host partner, Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center (UGLFHC) have partnered to coordinate and invest in the upskilling of current employees by allowing employees to maintain employment while gaining additional skills and certifications required for career advancement opportunities.

UP AHEC, a member of the OneUP Collaborative, utilized MiLEAP funding to support five UGLFHC employees who are currently participating in the first cohort of the internal Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) Upskilling Program. Each learner signed a service and repayment agreement ensuring program completion, and employment retention for 12-24 months beyond official certification. UP AHEC grant funding and MiLEAP funding covered the cost of the didactic content, training, supplies, support services, official National Healthcareer Association (NHA) CCMA exam preparatory materials and fees.

One learner, Morgan Guy, has completed her didactic content, is currently observing her clinical externship training, and will sit for her NHA CCMA exam in March of 2023. The remaining four learners utilized CareerStep didactic program extension packages coordinated and funded via MiLEAP and are well on their way towards program completion. A second cohort of the internal CCMA Upskilling Program is set to kick off in spring 2023.

Additionally, UP AHEC and UGLFHC are in the process of launching a true CCMA registered apprenticeship program with UP Michigan Works! via the US Department of Labor in addition to participating in the Michigan Primary Care Association Health Careers Training Program (HCCTP).

Basic Life Support (BLS) Instructor Training and Funding

UP AHEC recognized a regional BLS Instructor shortage, as the primary BLS training site in the western UP region is no longer available. In December of 2022, UP AHEC offered a BLS Instructor Training opportunity to all UGLFHC staff. UP AHEC and UGLFHC conducted interviews and selected candidates. MiLEAP funding then covered the cost of training and equipment for designated candidates. Individuals who complete the program will function as independent contractors under the Marquette General Training Center. They will own and be responsible for any equipment purchased on their behalf and can set their own schedule, rates and host training sessions with individuals or entities outside of UGLFHC. As independent contracters they can serve both UGLFHC and the UP region.