GRCC collaborates with Blue Cross Blue Shield to offer a paid health insurance agent apprenticeship program
GRAND RAPIDS, MI A new apprenticeship program at Grand Rapids Community College is helping students gain the knowledge they need to become qualified health insurance agents.
GRCC has partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to provide a health insurance agent apprenticeship program where students can gain basic business skills and hands-on experience that will help them pursue s/he careers in the health benefits industry.
According to a news release from Blue Cross and GRCC, the program provides paid on-the-job training and skills development. According to Erica Stamatoulakis, a spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield, classes are fully funded through grants, so students dont have to pay for tuition.
Employee payment arrangement is strictly controlled by the employer and apprentice/student. Blue Cross is not involved in any of these details, she added.
The apprenticeship is a 430-hour program that will give delegates an overview of the health care industry. It will take students about a year to complete, according to GRCC spokesperson David Murray.
Students who complete the program will take a state licensing exam and earn an apprenticeship certificate from the United States Department of Labor.
The first cohort of students began in the fall 2021 semester, according to Blue Cross, which worked in partnership with GRCC and West Michigan Works!
The goal of the program is to encourage a diverse population of students to see the health insurance industry as an interesting and financially rewarding career path, according to Jeff Connolly, senior vice president and president, West Michigan and Upper Peninsula at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
Access to and understanding of employee benefits and insurance are pillars of a strong local economy, Connolly stated in he spoke in an interview. Our goal is to assist the region in building a qualified pool of licensed individuals who may begin to become agents within the next 14 to 24 months and possibly even own their own agencies someday, said Mark.
GRCC President Bill Pink stated that the apprenticeship will teach students basic business skills and give them hands-on experience in the health industry.
GRCC is proud to work with manufacturing, construction, and other industries to prepare the future leaders while also putting our students into immediate careers, Pink said in a prepared statement. GRCCs model of meeting the needs of the community, employers, and students for the future is reflected in this program.
Amy Lebednick, business solutions director at West Michigan Works!, stated that a strong apprenticeship program requires collaborating between employers, education, and workforce development.
West Michigan Works! is thrilled to partner with Grand Rapids Community College and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan on this groundbreaking work, Lebednick stated in a prepared statement.
These programs help employers train workers in the skills they need and provide pathways to high-demand careers for individuals in our communities, according to the program.
According to Lebednick, West Michigan Works! is assisting with tuition costs by using Going Pro Apprenticeship funds, which are distributed to all Michigan Work! network (MWAs) through state policy issuance/allocation.
She stated in a statement to GRCC that they will screen each apprentice for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds to provide additional support funds and services to those who are eligible.
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