The path from college to career often involves earning a credential, then finding a job.
But that path will soon change for nursing students at Henry Ford College, which has partnered with Michigan’s largest hospital system in a program that will combine education, immersive training and then – a guaranteed job.
Henry Ford College officials are hailing the new Nurse Immersive Clinical and Employment Program with Corewell Health as a “paradigm shift” in higher education. They also say it is a blueprint for what other higher education programs will look like in the future to give students a clear vision of their career path while building a sustainable pipeline of qualified workers for the industry.
“This is the first step in what the future of higher education will be,” said Henry Ford College President Russ Kavalhuna. “Students and families have a clear path not only to success at an institution of higher education but to what they hope to achieve, a better life.”
Meanwhile, Corwell Health said this is a step to address the long-term shortage of nurses, especially after the pandemic.
“This partnership is not only a win-win for Corewell Health and Henry Ford College, it’s a win-win for the city of Dearborn and ultimately, the entire state,” said Kelli Sadler, senior vice president and chief nursing executive at Corewell Health in southeast Michigan.
Kavalhuna and Sadler, with Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud, Other college and hospital officials will launch the nursing program on Monday in which Corewell Health has invested just under $500,000.
The program is similar to those started by Oakland University and Schoolcraft College.
Officials say the Henry Ford College program will provide scholarships to nursing students of up to $9,380; embed students in clinical and immersive on-site training; offer “learn and earn” opportunities; and engage the Corewell nursing staff in preparing the next generation of nurses.
Then, students are guaranteed a job at Corewell Health System, which includes eight hospitals in Southeast Michigan, after they pass the nursing test for certification, meet the health system’s criteria and agree to work for the company for at least less than two years.
“We’re hoping for forever, but at least two years,” Sadler said. “We want to have an established pipeline to continue to grow nurses.”
The student scholarship program will begin in the winter 2024 semester, and the immersive clinical component will begin in fall 2024.
It comes as the nation and Michigan continue to face a shortage of nurses, especially in the wake of the pandemic.
An analysis of job postings by Lightcast, which provides data for labor market analytics, shows that there are an average of 1,119 job postings for registered nurses each month in Wayne County between in January 2021 and June 2023. But analytics, provided by Henry Ford College, show only 437 jobs are filled, or 1 in 3.
There were roughly 8,500 open nursing positions in Michigan this past spring, according to the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.
And a University of Michigan study that surveyed more than 10,000 of Michigan’s registered nurses in 2022 found that nearly 40% plan to leave their jobs within a year.
“With baby boomers and an aging population, we’re thinking about how important it is to make sure we have ready caregivers for the future of health care,” Sadler said. “For us, it’s very important for us to have partnerships like this with Henry Ford.”
Less worry about finding a job
For students, Sadler said it removes the worry of not being able to find a job after college and the scholarships help ease the cost burden.
“For us, we’re better able to plan our needs around staffing and help us make sure we can take care of the patients who rely on us for their health and their care and treatment,” Sadler said.
Trenton resident Lauren Miller knew she wanted to be a nurse since her sophomore year of high school. He was in and out of hospitals as his father became ill and eventually lost his battle with several diseases linked to diabetes.
“I saw how the nurses were taking care of him and I wanted to … do it for him,” Miller said.
She is now a nursing student at Henry Ford College who is on track to graduate in May. She talked to colleagues about a job after graduation while she was working as a nurse extern at Corewell Health Dearborn Hospital. But he has no guarantees, such as the new program will offer nursing students in the future.
Future nursing students are fortunate to be able to take advantage of this program, said Miller, 21.
“Knowing that as a student once you graduate you can get a job, it’s a sense of security and a motivation that everything will fall into place,” he said.
Charles Brooks, another nursing student at Henry Ford College, agreed.
He was inspired to become a nurse after watching nurses outside Sinai Grace Hospital during the pandemic and he was quarantined at a relative’s house. His grandmother, mother and sister are all nurses as well.
Brooks, 33, enrolled at Henry Ford College in December 2021 after dropping out of high school in the tenth grade, earned his GED in 2007, a medical assistant certificate in 2010 and then attended Wayne State University in for a year and a half before giving up. 2012 after the death of a family member.
The father of five, Brooks said he’s grateful to be back in college with Michigan Reconnect, a state program that offers free tuition at a community college for adults 21 and older. . She hopes to take advantage of the new Nurse Immersive Clinical and Employment Program.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity in the medical field,” said Brooks, a Detroit resident. “It takes the stress off and the burden of what’s next. More programs should be like that.”
Henry Ford College hopes to expand the model to other careers at the Dearborn-based school and also serve as a blueprint for other colleges here and around the country, said Michael Nealon, Henry Ford College Vice President of Academic Affairs.
“It’s a very difficult dream for community colleges in America,” Nealon said, “to be able to honestly and honestly tell our students that upon successful completion of this program, you will enter the career you are looking to launch.”