Nov. 13, 2018 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Sixty-eight Grand Rapids Community College students interested in health sciences or health careers are receiving scholarships through a partnership with Spectrum Health.
GRCC and Spectrum Health celebrated the awarding of $357,994.43 in scholarships with a reception Nov. 12.
Spectrum Health created the Spectrum Health Care Professionals Education Scholarship in 2016 to assist students interested in health sciences or health careers. This year, need-based scholarships, ranging from $3,000 to $4,000, went to students in GRCC's Associate Degree Nursing, Practical Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Radiologic Technology and -- for the first time -- Medical Assisting programs.
"These scholarships are a perfect example of a community collaboration that changes lives," said Kathryn K. Mullins, vice president for college advancement and executive director of the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation. "We're helping students gain opportunities for a great education, and also preparing them for rewarding careers in health care that will help people for years to come."
Yahntea Weaver has always wanted to work in medicine. Right after high school, she began working as a resident aide and then entered GRCC's Certified Nurse Assistant program. As she finished up that training in February, she learned about the Medical Assisting program and knew it would be the perfect next step.
But as the single mother to 2-year-old Prince, she didn't want to take on loans to pay for the program. The Spectrum Health Care Professionals Education Scholarship meant that she could start her MA training immediately and still take care of her family expenses.
"Without the scholarship, I wouldn't have been able to join this program right away," said Weaver, who also works full time. "I didn't have to pay out of pocket at all. Being a full-time mom, that's a huge help."
Weaver looks forward to starting work as a medical assistant, but she already knows what her next step will be: studying to be a registered nurse.
"My biggest motivation is my son," she said. "Without him, I would have quit a few times, but I want to do this for him."
Spectrum leaders said the program helps students like Weaver while making West Michigan stronger.
“Spectrum Health is committed to supporting students at GRCC and to encouraging those interested in health care careers,” said Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO of Spectrum Health. “Our ongoing partnership with GRCC helps strengthen the economic health of the communities we serve and ensures a pipeline of skilled talent for the future.”
About Spectrum Health:
Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in West Michigan, offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 12 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; 178 ambulatory and service sites; more than 3,400 physicians and advanced practice providers, including about 1,400 members of the Spectrum Health Medical Group; and Priority Health, a health plan with about 727,500 members. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer, with 24,500 employees. The organization provided $283 million in community benefit during its 2015 fiscal year. Spectrum Health was named one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems—and in the top five among the largest health systems—by Truven Health Analytics™ for 2016. This is the fifth time the organization has received this recognition.
Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.