96 students pursuing health careers received the financial awards
The GRCC Foundation held a reception in February 2018 to celebrate the first 96 recipients of the Spectrum Health Care Professionals Education Scholarship — and the partnership that made it possible.
Spectrum Health created the scholarship in 2016 to assist students interested in health sciences or health careers. The need-based scholarships, ranging from $3,000 to $4,000, went to students in GRCC's Associate Degree Nursing, Practical Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant and Radiologic Technology programs. Students in the Medical Assistant program are eligible for the 2018-19 scholarships.
The scholarships are allowing more students to get crucial training in a high-demand area, said 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.
Audrey McMains received the Spectrum scholarship while in the middle of four months of fieldwork required for the Occupational Therapy Assistant program.
"I am absolutely loving working in my degree field and being hands-on, it's a huge confirmation that I chose the right degree," she said.
But without the scholarship, the 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."
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.