GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Administrators of both Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Memorial Hospital at Gulfport celebrated an agreement Wednesday to create more ways to meet the need for trained healthcare professionals locally.
Directors said that the college partnered with Memorial Hospital and the Department of Labor to develop a scholarship and apprentice program.
“This is a three-tiered model. Students will have the opportunity to learn on the job through apprenticeship. They’ll have scholarship opportunities to pay for their educational experience, and they’ll have a job waiting for them at the end of their training program,” said MGCCC President Mary Graham.
Graham explained that the program has been in the works for only a few months; usually, it would take over a year. She said that the program was expedited because of the need for healthcare workers.
“There’s a huge shortage in the health care industry right now in the state of Mississippi. There’s over 1,000 vacancies in nursing. There’s a huge demand, and we as educators want to make sure we’re doing our job to train the future workforce,” Graham said.
President and CEO of Memorial Hospital at Gulfport Kent Nicaud explained that he was all aboard for the partnership. He said that this will create opportunities for community members to received local healthcare treatment.
“We need more opportunities to be able to have our communities to stay local and to take care of our patients local. As you know, there’s a shortage in healthcare employees across the country, and creating relationships with both local and state affiliations is truly important, not only for the state but for the community,” Nicaud said.
Graham said that the scholarship program launches Wednesday and apprenticeships start in summer.