New health care apprenticeship program at Macomb

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published March 22, 2023

 Macomb Community College recently introduced health care apprenticeships to students after receiving federal funding.

Macomb Community College recently introduced health care apprenticeships to students after receiving federal funding.

File photo by Deb Jacques


MACOMB COUNTY — Macomb Community College students considering a career in the health care field will now have the opportunity to participate in an apprenticeship.

In addition, Macomb’s Michigan Apprenticeship Program Plus, also known as the MAP+ program, will continue to offer opportunities to interested students. Both programs are made possible through federal funding that the college has received.

According to Macomb officials, the health care apprenticeship initiative is being funded by $2.6 million secured by U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan. The health care apprenticeship program is brand-new for the college, and an advisory board helped to get it off the ground.

“We ran multiple sessions engaging our community partners,”  said Narine Mirijanian, the dean of Health and Public Service at Macomb. “The college is very passionate about fulfilling our mission.”

The three-year apprenticeship initiative is designed to create a pathway to opportunity and sustainability for students and local health care organizations. So far, two students have acquired apprenticeships and close to 15 students are waiting to be placed. The goal is to have 60 apprenticeships completed over the three years, and also to set a model for the southeast Michigan health care sector.

According to a college press release, the program is designed to provide students the opportunity to earn money while they are learning in the classroom. An apprenticeship program trains future employees to become skilled in a trade or profession. Apprenticeship training combines classroom learning with hands-on work as students prepare for entry-level, patient-centered or business-oriented health careers.

“The health care apprenticeship is a new concept for us. It was a vision the college had along with the community,” Mirijanian said. “We are very aware of what’s happening in the community. After COVID, there are significant deficiencies in the workforce. With the apprenticeships, the students could be earning and learning at the same time.”

The initiative involves eight programs ranging from six weeks to one year and at least 2,000 hours of on-the-job instruction. Because of the federal grant, the apprentice will incur no costs for tuition, books, laptops, uniforms and background checks.

“We’re very excited,” Mirijanian said. “The grant was very well thought through to successfully really start the program.”

According to Macomb officials, some students will achieve their career goals with completion of the entry-level program, while others will use it as a stepping stone to continue their education, enhance skills and advance into higher-level opportunities in health care fields.

The health care apprenticeships will offer the following certifications: medical reimbursement specialist; professional coder; nursing assistant; dental assistant; laboratory assistant; medical assistant; pharmacy technician and phlebotomy.

A certified professional coder, for example, updates patient records with standardized information needed for data management and billing purposes. Students who enroll in the phlebotomy program learn how to draw blood from patients and prepare the samples for testing.

Classes will be held at South Campus in Warren and at Center Campus in Clinton Township. For more information about health care apprenticeships, email

Macomb’s MAP+ program was created in 2016 with funding through the U.S. Department of Labor American Apprenticeship Initiative. From 2016 to 2021, the college registered 375 apprentices representing 41 employers in the region and served 452 pre-apprentices. The MAP+ program continuation is supported by a $610,000 appropriation through U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan.

“Ensuring that our community’s residents have access to the training and support to succeed and prosper in the 21st century workforce, and that local employers have the talent necessary to sustain and grow their businesses is an imperative for Macomb Community College,” Macomb Community College President James O. Sawyer IV said in a prepared statement. “We’re deeply appreciative of the advocacy and action of Sens. Stabenow and Peters to secure critical financial resources that further our work in these areas.”

The MAP+ program works in collaboration with the Macomb Intermediate School District to welcome students interested in the region’s construction and manufacturing sectors, including  automotive, aerospace and defense. In the program, students enroll in shop math, industrial safety, blueprint reading and hands-on training. The MAP+ Industrial Readiness program is provided at no cost to students.

“On successful completion of the classes, which are completed in one semester, students earn a certificate with nine credits that can be applied to an associate degree and are connected to employers seeking talent,” the press release states.   

MAP+ is seeking students for this fall. If interested or for more information about MAP+, email