Health Care Apprenticeships and On-the-Job Training Opportunities Available to Employers and Job Seekers

image of Health Care Month logo with cartoon superheroes in health care uniforms

During the third week of Health Care Month, we are focusing on apprenticeship and training programs that are available to both employers and job seekers. As Governor Walz noted in his proclamation of January as Health Care Month, health care in Minnesota pays an average annual wage of $53,659, which is 4% higher than the nation’s average wage of $51,792 for the same sector. Wages go up with additional training, certification, and experience. DEED’s Labor Market Information office indicates there is projected long-term demand, as well as high current demand for health care workers. In fact, four of the top 10 jobs in demand now in Minnesota are health care jobs.

Because of this high demand, there are many apprenticeship and on-the-job training opportunities to help prepare people for work in a variety of health care positions. When workers leverage these opportunities, they can get on the path to successful careers in health care, with wages that can sustain themselves and their families.

These grants and training programs help build strong talent pipelines, which are at the core of business productivity. When employers engage in these programs, it helps them shift from a reactive to a proactive approach in recruiting. When health care employers successfully build and communicate career path opportunities within their organization, it increases employee morale and decreases turnover. Employees feel they are in control of improving their job skills and potentially increasing their pay, which builds their self-esteem and in turn, loyalty to the company.

Some employers have concerns about the amount of time and energy they think applying for a grant or managing the program would take. Because of this feedback, the grant and training programs at the links in the paragraph below have built templates and have staff available to assist your organization in making this a smooth process that is easy for you to manage. You can also contact your regional workforce strategy consultant to find about more about assistance available to Minnesota employers.

Below, we take a deeper dive into grants, apprenticeships, and numerous other resources your organization can use to build a stronger, more efficient workforce for years to come.

DEED Training Grants

DEED has several training grants that work with businesses, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations to train or retrain workers, expand work opportunities, and keep high-quality jobs in Minnesota. These programs are great opportunities for businesses, including health care organizations, to redefine their internal training programs and develop a stronger employee pipeline by showing potential hires how jobs can become careers.

The Partnership Program offers grants of up to $400,000 to educational Institutions that partner with businesses to develop new-job training or retraining for existing employees. The Pathways Program provides grants up to $400,000 educational institutions or nonprofit organizations that partner with businesses to provide training, new jobs and career paths for low-income people.

The Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP) supports training grants of up to $200,000 to new or expanding businesses located in Greater Minnesota. The Low Income Worker Training Program presents grants of up to $200,000 to public, private, or nonprofit entities to help low-income people gain new skills necessary move up the career ladder to higher paying jobs and greater economic self-sufficiency.

Automation Training Incentive Pilot Program (ATIPP) offers training grants of up to $25,000 to small businesses that are implementing new automation technology are set up to offset training-related expenses businesses, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations incur to meet workforce needs.

Department of Labor and Industry Apprenticeships

The Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has three programs to help your business grow skilled workers, customize your employee training, and develop a diverse workforce that fits your company’s needs.

Apprenticeship grants assist employers with costs associated with developing apprenticeship programs. Employers can receive up to $5,000 for each apprentice to help cover costs including apprenticeship-related supplies, materials, instruction, and infrastructure in health care services, as well as advanced manufacturing, agriculture, information technology and transportation.

Dual Training Pipeline is an innovative approach to address current and future workforce needs. Pipeline is an earn-while-you-learn approach where the employer invests in their employee by providing training in competency-based work skills and related instruction. The program supports employers in creating or enhancing a competency based dual-training approach where workers receive a combination of related instruction strategically paired with on-the-job training. Some of the health care occupations eligible for Dual-Training Pipeline reimbursement include addiction specialist, certified nursing assistant, dental hygienist, licensed practical nurse, medical lab assistant, psychiatric/mental health technician, radiologic technologist, registered nurse, senior living culinary manager and surgical technologist.  

Ann Dempster, Human Resources Administrator at the Mankato Clinic stated, “We started a Minnesota Dual Training Pipeline program this past fall and we are excited to say that two of our employees will be graduating this spring as Medical Assistants. With the Minnesota Pipeline Program, we have been able to take current employees and help them advance their careers in health care along with filling our much-needed positions. It honestly has been a win-win for us.”

Youth Skills Training (YST) program encourages, promotes and supports the development of local partnerships between schools, employers and community organizations. These local partnerships provide students with related classroom instruction, safety training, industry-recognized credentials and paid work experience in high-growth and high-demand occupations in health care as well as advanced manufacturing, agriculture, automotive, and information technology. 

Regional Training Partners

DEED and CareerForce work closely in our communities and with our regional service partners to assist businesses wanting to expand and diversify their workforce. Many of the programs offer support for career seekers from a variety of backgrounds, including veterans, young adults, immigrants, workers with disabilities, and those dislocated by layoffs or closings.

Businesses can reach out to regional service partners to learn more about and engage in On-the-Job Training (OJT) for new hires, Transitional Job Opportunities (TJO), Work Experience for Young Adults (ages 16-24), and Incumbent Worker Training to upskill existing workers.

Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, Inc. (CMJTS), a nonprofit employment and training agency and leading partner of CareerForce, is a leader in offering OJT to job seekers and employers in their region. OJT benefits businesses and new employees. New hires learn occupational skills and earn a wage at the same time. Businesses save time and money. OJT businesses can receive a reimbursement of up to 50% of the trainee’s wages when they agree to hire an eligible worker. The dollars received offset the cost of training a new employee during the length of the contract. The business provides the training; the eligible worker does the learning, gaining skills unique to their employer’s and their industry’s needs. This is great for both businesses and job seekers!

Scholarship Opportunities

Businesses also can offer scholarships to their staff, staff’s family, students at local schools, and people involved in community programs to recruit people into health care. Employers can pre-pay or refund training and education costs, offer internal training certifications, and sponsor community programs, within certain eligibility requirements.

The Good Shepherd Community, which is a long-term care facility in Sauk Rapids, is one of the key sponsors of central Minnesota’s Scrubs Camp, which is an interactive and fun day camp open to any student entering 7th-12th grades. Students explore a variety of health care careers like nursing, laboratory science, social work, physical therapy, ambulatory care and many others. Good Shepherd is on the Scrubs Camp committee, active in planning the event, and in the past has offered on-site tours and activities to all the students participating in the camp. Good Shepherd has also offered scholarships to their staffs’ family members to attend the camp. They understand the need to draw attention to the career field at all ages in hopes to build a stronger workforce. 

Contact Della Ludwig, Central Minnesota Workforce Strategy Consultant at

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See other blog posts in this Health Care Month series

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