Altierus Career College, Everett, and CHC of Snohomish County Create Path for Students with a Passion for Patient Care

September 13, 2017 | By Jennifer Putman

Throughout the state of Washington, more than 50 percent of all jobs are for skilled positions requiring more than a high school diploma but less than a two- or four-year college degree. Yet only 44 percent of job candidates have the necessary qualifications to fill these positions.

The impact on health providers is especially challenging as new clinics open to better serve growing communities. In and around Everett, Washington, just north of Seattle, Community Health Center (CHC) of Snohomish County is responding to the need for expanded services by adding two new clinics to its five locations. The first will open in November 2017 and the second in January 2018. The clinics, both in Everett, will further expand area residents’ access to CHC health providers and specialists.

This type of expansion impacts the local job market by creating more openings for professionals in medical and dental assistant fields. When CHC seeks the right job candidates to staff its growing network of clinics, the organization looks first for people who have a passion for patient care. Often, they find these important qualities, along with excellent technical training, within the student population at Altierus Career College.

“We look for a fit with our mission, which is to provide affordable community health services to people in need,” says David Griggs, recruiter at CHC of Snohomish County. “Our staff have a heart for community health and a patient focus. Altierus has been a great source for externs who have the people skills and the technical competency to make a seamless transition into our clinics.”

To help develop and train more health care professionals throughout the Snohomish County region, CHC advises Altierus and other colleges regarding curriculum, provides students with 200-hour on-site externships, and offers a $2,000 signing bonus to new medical and dental assistant hires.

Griggs says Altierus also offers training in the soft skills that are so important in patient settings, including communications and a focus on the patient. CHC hosted 14 Altierus externs in 2016, and has already hosted a dozen Altierus dental and medical assistant externs in 2017. And some externship students are hired as full-time employees upon graduation.

“Our relationship with Altierus has been really positive,” adds Griggs. “Altierus educators are attentive to input and make changes we recommend. They stay abreast of what is new and different, and talk with us about curriculum updates and new equipment they are implementing.”

Jennifer Putman is the Campus Director at Altierus Career College, Everett.