Nursing apprenticeships through Alabama community colleges see exponential increase, filling need for nurses in Alabama

MONTGOMERY, Ala., Sept. 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Alabama’s historic move to allow nursing apprenticeships through the Alabama Community College System is helping combat nursing shortages across the state.

Since new rules passed last year allowing Alabama healthcare employers to enter into an apprenticeship agreement with nursing programs, an estimated 400 nursing apprentices across 17 colleges have served with nurses at more than 60 healthcare facilities.

Nursing apprenticeships started last year when Coastal Alabama and Gadsden State community colleges became the first in the state to offer the program. During the initial phase, 30 apprentices played a pivotal role in filling nursing vacancies across four employers in those regions.

More than 8,450 students were enrolled in registered nursing and licensed practical nursing programs at Alabama’s community colleges last academic year. In that same time frame, a total of 2,950 students obtained a nursing credential.

Twenty-two of Alabama’s 24 community and technical colleges offer a nursing program.

Students who apply and are accepted as nurse apprentices serve as employees of the healthcare facility and work alongside an experienced nurse. Nurse apprentices can continue their employment by completing their apprenticeship and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) that certifies nurses.

Trinity Carlisle, a Drake State alum who participated in the LPN Launch program with Huntsville Hospital, said she appreciated the support the apprenticeship allowed from both the college and her employer.

“Our instructors supported us and wanted the very best from us from Day One, and went beyond helping us when it came to understanding a hard subject, staying after lab to practice skills, and even making sure we had what we needed outside the classroom to be successful,” she said.

“I cannot wait to see where this career takes me.”

As the Alabama Community College System celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, apprenticeships are among the system’s greatest successes. Businesses work with Alabama’s community and technical colleges to offer apprenticeships that help meet workforce needs in several high-demand industries, including manufacturing, nursing, and childcare.

“Some of the best training is on-the-job, and we are the strongest in workforce development in Alabama when we create avenues for our students to achieve through work-based learning such as apprenticeships,” said Jimmy H. Baker, Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System.

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SOURCE Alabama Community College System