It ‘pays’ to enroll in apprenticeship program at R-C Community College

Published 5:01 pm Friday, August 26, 2022

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AHOSKIE – What could be better than earning your degree, diploma, or certificate while you are being paid to work?

That’s what it means to be an ‘apprentice’ in an innovative program offered by Roanoke-Chowan Community College (RCCC).

Medical Assistant Apprentices at Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center are, from left, Quiera Mosley of Windsor, Courtney Byrum of Edenton, LaToya Tann of Winton, and Sameerah Harrell of Ahoskie. They are pictured with Kimberly Canady (right), R-CCC Allied Health Instructor. Not pictured are apprentices Tomekia Smith of Ahoskie and Stephanie Roberson of Williamston. Contributed Photo

The apprenticeship program at R-CCC partners with area business and industry to offer continuing education for adults in the workplace.

“Apprenticeship is an employer-based program that helps workers learn specialized skills needed in today’s work environment. It combines on-the-job learning with related classroom instruction,” states R-CCC President Murray J. Williams,

R-CCC was featured recently on the ‘My Carolina’ TV show on CBS affiliate channel 17 in Raleigh showing the benefits of apprenticeship for students and employers.

“Students earn state and nationally recognized credentials while employers develop a talented team and close the skills gap,” explains Dr. Williams. “We have successful apprenticeship programs at local businesses including Roanoke-Chowan Community Health Center and Roanoke Electric Cooperative. I am very proud of the apprentices in our program at R-CCC.”

Roanoke-Chowan Community Health Center (RCCHC) has a registered apprenticeship program and partners with the college to offer opportunities for employees. The first class of medical assistant apprentices will complete the program in August and receive certification after passing the Registered Medical Assistant Certification Exam.

“It’s an extremely exciting partnership for our community health center,” states Sarah S. Griffin, RN, BSN, Apprenticeship NC Program Coordinator at RCCHC.   “Apprentices maintain their work status while furthering their education. To enroll with Apprenticeship NC, each student must first be accepted as a student at a North Carolina community college.”

R-CCC Allied Health Instructor Kimberly Canady, RN, BSN, comes on-site to the community health center to provide instruction. The apprentices are paid for the time they spend in on the job clinical training at the health center.

Stephanie Wroten, Chief Nursing Officer, and Interim Chief Operating Officer for RCCHC, has led efforts at the health center to establish an apprenticeship program there.

“RCCHC Leadership is dedicated to ‘living our mission’ by establishing pathways to educate staff to build highly skilled healthcare teams,” states Wroten. “The goal is to take actionable steps through organizational introspection and investment in our staff. RCCHC continues to create innovative methods to address staffing shortages related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“In the summer of 2021, RCCHC completed enrollment in the NC Apprenticeship program approved by the US Department of Labor. Apprenticeship further expanded RCCHC’s ability to offer medical assistant career advancement to additional staff members,” she continued.

According to Wroten, “The Medical Assistant Workforce Development Program has improved patient outcomes by expanding capacity of the integrated care team. CMA’s perform complete pre-visit planning and preventative screenings, medication reconciliation, and patient education. They assist with closing clinical care gaps to improve population health and play a vital role in ensuring our patients benefit from chronic care management processes.”

“It’s a great opportunity to broaden your horizons,” says Quiera Mosley, one of the apprentices in the medical assistant program. “I knew I wanted to do this as soon as I heard about it.”

RCCHC added more apprenticeship recognized occupations that support staff and operations including Patient Account Representative, Medical Laboratory Technician, and Information Technology Specialist. RCCHC is actively working on enrolling the Pharmacy Technician, RN, and LPN occupations as well.

ApprenticeshipNC is the agency under the N.C. Community College system that assists colleges and employers to establish registered programs. State funding has been approved for students, colleges, and businesses to increase apprenticeships in North Carolina. A business/industry must be registered by the Apprenticeship NC agency to provide apprenticeship programs.

Roanoke-Chowan area business/industries interested in registering to provide an apprenticeship program should contact the R-CCC Office of Continuing Education at 252-862-1307

For more information about the degree, diploma, and certificate programs available at Roanoke-Chowan Community College, call the R-CCC Office of Admissions at 252-862-1248 or visit the website at

Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving patients in several counties in Northeastern North Carolina. RCCHC has sites in Ahoskie, Woodland, Murfreesboro, Creswell, and Colerain, as well as a mobile health clinic. RCCHC is governed by a majority-patient board and offers services to all regardless of ability to pay or insurance status. In 2021, RCCHC saw over 16,000 patients, employed over 230 people, and gave over 19,000 immunizations.