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In-REACH Health Care Apprenticeship Program Expands with $2.4 Million Siemens Foundation Grant

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

November 15, 2022 – The Washington Association for Community Health is excited to announce the expansion of its In-REACH apprenticeship program, thanks to funding from the Siemens Foundation. Over the next three years, the Foundation will invest $2.35 million from the Siemens Healthineers Fund of the Siemens Foundation, to support the development of new apprenticeship tracks, expansion of partnerships with new states, and addition of support services students need to fully participate.


Today, In-REACH offers Medical and Dental Assistant apprenticeships and training programs that continue to grow in enrollment year over year. Since it launched in 2014, the program has averaged a 63 percent annual growth rate. With the Siemens Foundation funding, In-REACH will develop additional tracks based on top health care workforce needs.


"The In-REACH program is rooted in the values of community health centers, centering whole-person, preventative care that is available to all,” said Bob Marsalli, CEO of the Association. “We are grateful to the Siemens Foundation for investing in the expansion of this values-based program to meet additional health care workforce needs in Washington and across the country."

Two people practice a medical checkup on baby dolls
MA apprentices at a hands-on lab day at a Country Doctor clinic

Health Care Workforce in High Demand

The Association launched the In-REACH program in 2014 in response to community health center and overall health care workforce needs that have only continued to grow. Recent occupational data projects that the number of open Medical Assistant (MA) positions will increase 16% nationwide and around 22% in Washington State over 10 years. Similar levels of growth are also anticipated across other health care professions, including but not limited to dental assistants, nurse assistants, community health care workers, and home health aides.


“Community health centers play a pivotal role in ensuring wellness for the communities they serve and helping them build a more diverse and inclusive workforce will only strengthen their service. That’s why we’ve doubled down our commitment to health equity, including our investment in In-REACH,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. “We look forward to seeing the expansion of their apprenticeship programing, and the economic opportunity it supports across the country.”

In-REACH: A Growing Career Pathways Program

In both of its current career pathway programs, In-REACH partners with more than 65 employers across the state who directly recruit, interview, and hire apprentices and trainees from their local communities. The registered MA apprenticeship is a 12-month program that includes paid on-the-job training, in-person lab days, and online coursework that follows In-REACH’s original curriculum. The curriculum includes a module on Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), which develops professionals who understand and account for the many social and environmental factors that impact a person’s wellness. Visit our website for more details on both programs.


Through In-REACH, more than 87 percent of students complete the MA program and, of those, 99 percent pass the required exam. These positive outcomes have caught the attention of other states. In 2021, the program began a consulting arm that helps Primary Care Associations (PCAs) and workforce organizations across the country set up similar apprenticeships to meet their workforce needs. Current start partners include the Illinois Primary Health Care Association and Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association. Under this new funding, the team plans to expand their national network by up to 10 states, helping with what is a nationwide health care workforce demand.


“Finding qualified staff is a real challenge for health care institutions right now, and apprenticeship programs are an important step toward bridging this gap,” said Dave Pacitti, President, Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc.; Head of the Americas, Siemens Healthineers; and member of the Siemens Foundation Board of Directors. “Siemens Healthineers is proud to support the efforts of In-REACH and improving access to care in underrepresented communities through a talented workforce.”

In addition to growing the health care workforce generally, In-REACH is committed to reducing barriers to access for underrepresented communities interested in health care careers and developing a workforce that is representative of the communities they serve. As one way to increase access, the In-REACH program will use a portion of the Siemens Foundation funds to support student needs such as transportation, childcare, and technology.


“I’m proud that In-REACH is focused on both recruiting a diverse healthcare workforce AND helping employer partners lead on DEI initiatives important to retaining a diverse workforce,” said Prudence Chilufya, In-REACH’s Career Pathways Manager. “I also appreciate the diverse group of women who run In-REACH and serve as instructors, and our commitment to bringing in viewpoints that represent our students.”
A group of people smiling at the camera
In-REACH program staff and instructors preparing for a new cohort

For more information on the Washington Association for Community Health and the In-REACH program, visit our website at https://www.wacommunityhealth.org/about-us and follow us on Twitter (@WaAssociationCH) or Instagram.


For more information on the Siemens Foundation visit siemens-foundation.org.


 

Association Contact for Journalists:

Alyssa Patrick | apatrick@wacommunityhealth.org | 360-786-9722 ext 210


Siemens Foundation Contact for Journalists:

Caroline Cassidy | 770-826-7379 | caroline.cassidy@siemens.com



 

About the Washington Association for Community Health and In-REACH

The Washington Association for Community Health supports and strengthens the state’s federally qualified community health centers (FQHCs) as they build access, innovation, and value for all Washingtonians. The Association provides workforce development, technical assistance and training, and policy advocacy driven by a commitment to addressing health inequities.


The Association’s In-REACH program develops and administers health care apprenticeship/training programs that provide didactic education, skills practice, and on-the-job training to health systems in multiple states and geographic regions.


About the Siemens Foundation The Siemens Foundation has invested $150 million in the United States to advance workforce development and health equity initiatives in the United States. The Foundation is committed to economic, social, and racial justice for all.




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