Feb. 28, 2018 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College and Spectrum Health will celebrate the first recipients of a new scholarship with a special program today.
Spectrum and GRCC created the Spectrum Health Care Professionals Education Scholarship in 2016 to encourage and assist students interested in health sciences or health careers. The 96 students who will be honored Feb. 28 are sophomores in GRCC's Associate Degree Nursing, Practical Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant and Radiologic Technology programs. The need-based scholarships ranged from $3,000 to $4,000 with almost $350,000 awarded for 2017-18. Students in the Medical Assisting program will be eligible for the 2018-19 scholarships.
"Spectrum Health is committed to supporting scholars at GRCC and to helping them secure employment after graduation," said Richard C. Breon, president and CEO of Spectrum Health. "Our partnership with GRCC helps strengthen the economic health of our region and ensures we have a pipeline of skilled health care workers for the future."
The scholarships will allow more students to get crucial training in a high-demand area, said GRCC President Bill Pink.
"Not only are we listening to employers and providing education to fill the skills gap, but we are listening to our students and eliminating barriers to their success, whether that is through advising and career exploration, tutoring and academic support, or through financial assistance," he said. "I am always communicating the message of GRCC staying relevant and responsive to our community and students, and this effort definitely fits that mold."
For Audrey McMains, a student in GRCC's Occupational Therapy Assistant program, the scholarship means she can concentrate on her studies instead of finances.
McMains chose the program after a four-year stint in the Army because of its excellent National Board certification passing rate. She's now in the middle of her required fieldwork.
"It is better than I could have imagined!" she said. "I am absolutely loving working in my degree field and being hands-on, it's a huge confirmation that I chose the right degree."
But without the scholarship, the four months of unpaid fieldwork would have financial consequences, McMains said.
"The Spectrum Health scholarship has helped me immensely by giving me financial security during the 40-hour weeks," she said. "It has allowed me to focus on my studies and have peace of mind that I can handle expenses like the extra gas mileage from driving back and forth from my fieldwork."
GRCC students are able to reach their goals thanks to community collaboration, said Kathryn Mullins, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation.
"Our community partners are crucial to the role we play in West Michigan, providing so many people with opportunities for higher education and skills retraining," she said.
Spectrum Health has long partnered with GRCC on a number of programs designed to address the long-term need of health care professionals on the Medical Mile.
These programs include the accredited medical assistant apprenticeship, standardized community health worker training, job shadowing and internships, and Alpha Beta Omega (ΑBO), a leadership development program for GRCC students.
Spectrum Health also is committed to mentoring nursing students, and provides individual internships and clinical sites for several nursing schools, including GRCC. Hundreds of nursing students complete supervised clinical practicums at Spectrum Health facilities annually.
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.