Detroit Regional Chamber > Education & Talent > National Apprenticeship Week Spotlight: Henry Ford Health

National Apprenticeship Week Spotlight: Henry Ford Health

November 16, 2023

From Nov. 13 to Nov. 19, hundreds of employers, community-based organizations, education providers, and more celebrate National Apprenticeship Week (NAW). They host events to showcase the successes and value of professional apprenticeships.

As a founding member of the Michigan Apprentice Network (MiAN) – formerly known as the Detroit New Apprentice (DNA) Network – the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the many organizations celebrating NAW. It is publishing a week-long content series, spotlighting MiAN member companies that host apprenticeship programs and celebrating the impact apprenticeship programs have as a talent solution on filling high-growth and high-demand roles.

Below is the Chamber’s final highlight with Henry Ford Health.

Henry Ford Health is a leading health care and medical services provider in the Detroit Region. They are leading the way in health care apprenticeships as a strategy to recruit and retain talent when there are urgent hiring needs in the sector.  

Henry Ford Health’s apprenticeship programs are designed to provide opportunities for clinical knowledge and skill development for future and current team members looking to build a career in health care. They develop team members to become nurse assistants, medical assistants, eye care assistants, and pharmacy technicians. In collaboration with its operational stakeholders, it is building programs for radiology technologists and surgical technologists in support of its workforce development strategy to strengthen and build its workforce from within. 

The need for programmatic support at Henry Ford Health was evident as the industry experienced a downturn in available talent, and the talent landscape became increasingly competitive both within and outside the health care industry. In 2020, it met the high demand for nurse assistants, pharmacy technicians, and ophthalmology assistants by developing on-the-job training and programming.  

It has received funds from the GoingPro Talent Fund to support its apprentices. Workforce agencies, such as Michigan Works!, play a key role as collaborators and partners in identifying talent, providing funding support, and assisting with wrap around services that remove barriers to employment for team members. 

In this competitive talent ecosystem, innovative approaches are needed to meet employer needs, and the apprenticeship program at Henry Ford Health has proven to be a success. Providing career pathways and development opportunities for team members and supporting a path to a thriving career is the greatest benefit to the organization. 

Henry Ford Health operates in support of its mission: to improve lives through excellence in the science and art of health care and healing, starting with its own team members. Developing and cultivating internal talent creates continued opportunities to provide superior care to the communities they serve. 

However, providing apprenticeship programs, especially in the health care sector where apprenticeships have not always been available, can also bring challenges. Creating models to support the apprenticeship program has provided opportunities for collaboration and new ways of thinking about how to build and develop team members. Leaders at Henry Ford Health have had to think beyond traditional means of training and certification and shift their mindset to investing in and developing inspired people. Rethinking partnerships and aligning partners with strategic imperatives has been a game changer for Henry Ford Health’s talent strategy.  

The apprenticeship program has also been a game changer for team members like Yousif T., a Nurse Assistant who shared, “I worked in the emergency department doing registration and the Nurse Assistant Apprenticeship allowed me an entry way into patient care, which is what I really wanted to do. I learned a lot about patient education, ambulating patients, dressing patients, etc. I would tell anyone going through this program to take it seriously and it’ll get you ready for your nurse assistant position.”  

Henry Ford Health’s message to other employers seeking to launch apprenticeship programs is centered around employer and job seeker needs. 

“The talent landscape is changing at a rapid pace and there is a renewed since of community, belonging, and growth. We must meet job seekers where they are, and we have the opportunity play a pivotal role in providing opportunities for real career development. Apprenticeships are an amazing way to get talent to consider longstanding careers in health care. When developing an apprenticeship program, remember that you’re investing in the future of your talent pool, promoting diversity and inclusion within your organization, creating partnerships amongst outside partners, and developing a sense of belonging for your employees.”