DHMC, Community College System of NH launch healthcare pre-apprenticeship program for high school students

Students in ApprenticeshipNH program stand outside entrance of River Valley Community College
The cohort of five students began their healthcare apprenticeship program in March with classroom instruction at RVCC before starting on-the-job learning at DHMC.

This new program offers young people the opportunity to explore healthcare careers while they learn and earn, prepares them to continue employment within Dartmouth Health and to pursue advanced training and education.

Jenny Macaulay, manager of Workforce Strategy for Dartmouth Health

Dartmouth Health’s Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), ApprenticeshipNH, a workforce program of the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH), and River Valley Community College (RVCC) in Claremont have partnered to create an innovative pre-apprenticeship program for high school students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare. The program will prepare students for entry into the medical assistant, pharmacy technician and surgical technologist registered apprenticeship programs of Dartmouth Health’s Dartmouth Hitchcock Workforce Readiness Institute (DHWRI). The 14-week program is open to high school seniors age 17 and older, who will participate in classroom instruction at RVCC and paid on-the-job learning as healthcare operations support assistants at DHMC.

The program’s pilot cohort of five students from high schools in New Hampshire and Vermont began Wednesday, March 23, 2022, with introductory classroom instruction at RVCC. The program will culminate on Friday, June 24, with a ceremony that includes an interview opportunity with the DHWRI apprenticeship programs and where they will be recognized with a Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate of Completion.

“We are thrilled to be part of this exciting new pre-apprenticeship program for high school students who are exploring careers in healthcare,” said Jenny Macaulay, manager of Workforce Strategy for Dartmouth Health. “The goal of this program is to help students make informed choices about their plans after graduation. Creating opportunities for our regional youth to enter the workforce with the skills, knowledge and readiness to succeed is at the heart of this program’s design, and supports the DHWRI’s goal of building a sustainable workforce pipeline that supports the work and mission of Dartmouth Health. This new program offers young people the opportunity to explore healthcare careers while they learn and earn, prepares them to continue employment within Dartmouth Health and to pursue advanced training and education."

Pre-apprenticeship programs pave the way for participants to enroll in Registered Apprenticeship programs, where they can continue to learn and develop job skills through on-the-job training under the guidance of mentors. As employees from day one using the “earn while you learn” model, apprentices become part of an employer’s culture and are therefore more likely to stay with the employer for a period of time, which benefits both employee and employer.

Students participating in the health care pre-apprenticeship program will gain hands-on experience by working alongside teams that bring them into the inpatient, ambulatory, perioperative and pharmaceutical environments into which the DHWRI’s registered apprenticeship and training programs lead. While working, pre-apprentices will be able to see firsthand how the many roles in healthcare – clinical, supply, infection prevention, nutrition, diagnostic, surgical and administration – work together for patient care, thereby helping to discover their personal interests and career paths.


“This new pre-apprenticeship program provides an excellent opportunity for high school students to jump-start their careers in healthcare,” said Mary Ann Gaschnig, CCSNH’s high school apprentice and business outreach specialist. “The program provides a unique opportunity for pre-apprentices to play a vital role in supporting the clinical and operational functions at DHMC, while learning as they go. Now more than ever, we need a talented pool of healthcare professionals to meet the critical workforce needs in New Hampshire.”

The ApprenticeshipNH program was established in 2016 through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. To date, 371 individuals and 61 New Hampshire companies have benefitted from CCSNH’s ApprenticeshipNH programs.

DHWRI is a registered career school with the New Hampshire Department of Education. DHWRI offers training and career advancement opportunities through comprehensive training programs that offer full-time employment with benefits; access to the state’s largest private employer, a nationally recognized teaching hospital and health system; the ability to earn college credits, state/national licenses, and certifications while being paid to learn; and experiential learning opportunities for high school and post-secondary students.

To learn more about this newly-launched healthcare pre-apprenticeship program, visit www.apprenticeshipnh.com/highschool/ or Anne Banks at abanks@ccsnh.edu.

About Dartmouth Health

Dartmouth Health, New Hampshire's only academic health system and the state's largest private employer, serves patients across northern New England. Dartmouth Health provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH, as well as across its wide network of hospitals, clinics and care facilities. DHMC is consistently named the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in numerous clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth Health includes its Dartmouth Cancer Center, one of only 51 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, and the only such center in northern New England; Dartmouth Health Children’s, including the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the state’s only children’s hospital and clinic locations around the region; member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene and New London, NH, and Windsor, VT, and Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and more than 24 clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. Through its historical partnership with Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth Health trains nearly 400 medical residents and fellows annually, and performs cutting-edge research and clinical trials recognized across the globe with Geisel and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT. Dartmouth Health and its more than 13,000 employees are deeply committed to serving the healthcare needs of everyone in our communities, and to providing each of our patients with exceptional, personal care.