Governor Kelly Announces Funding to Create Health Care Apprenticeship Programs in Southeast and Western Kansas

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced $100,000 to support the two new health care apprenticeship programs at Pratt Regional Medical Center and Labette Health. The programs build on the Governor’s creation of the Office of Registered Apprenticeship last fall and include training opportunities for positions such as Certified Nursing Assistant, Phlebotomist, Surgical Technician, Medical Coding Specialist, and other high-demand, high-wage health care occupations.

The program will be developed and administered over the next year by Hamilton Ryker, a staffing and workforce solutions agency partnering with the Kansas Office of Registered Apprenticeship, and will be supported by the Kansas Hospital Association. Funding for the program was made available through the Patterson Family Foundation.

“Apprenticeships are a critical part of my strategy to ensure Kansas workers have the skills needed to advance their careers and support their families,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “These programs will also improve our health care system by providing a more robust workforce. I want to thank the Patterson Family Foundation for its support and for targeting such an essential industry.”

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Since September 2022, when Governor Kelly created the Kansas Office of Registered Apprenticeship, interest in apprenticeship programs has soared. There are now 4,044 Kansans in apprenticeship (up from 3,500); total occupations with programs have increased from 150 to 172; and the number of active employers offering apprenticeships has almost doubled from 118 to 212.

“Innovative programs such as this are exactly what Governor Laura Kelly envisioned when she established the Office of Registered Apprenticeship,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Kansas faces chronic shortages of health care workers, particularly in rural parts of the state. These new apprenticeship programs help address the challenge head-on, preparing Kansas workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

“Hamilton-Ryker’s workforce development division, TalentGro, is honored to have received the Patterson Grant on behalf of Kansas Hospital Association and two of their members, Pratt Regional Medical Center and Labette Health,” Shari Franey, Hamilton-Ryker Chief Operating Officer, said. “We are excited to continue our work of setting up, sponsoring, and managing Registered Apprenticeships for employers throughout Kansas and the country.”

The Kansas Registered Apprenticeship Program is intentionally employer-designed and driven, creating unique opportunities for employers and career seekers throughout the state. To be recognized for certification, all Registered Apprenticeship programs must include:

  • On-the-job training
  • Related technical instruction
  • Mentorship
  • Wage progression
  • Industry-recognized credentials.

“We are so excited to be named co-recipient of the Patterson Family Foundation grant awarded by the Kansas Department of Commerce,” Tammy Smith, Pratt Regional Medical Center President and CEO, said. “This is an innovative way to attract and retain health career-minded people, and we are enthusiastic to be part of it.”

“Kansas hospitals will continue to face significant workforce shortages in the coming years, and I am so proud our Human Resources Director Jessica Helt worked with the Kansas Hospital Association, the Patterson Family Foundation, and the Kansas Department of Commerce to develop creative and innovative programs such as this apprenticeship grant to address training and workforce development at Labette Health,” Brian Williams, Labette Health President and CEO, said.

For more information about the Kansas Office of Registered Apprenticeship, click here.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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