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St. Mary’s Medical Assistant Training Program a team effort

Pictured here (l. to r., from front) are program graduates Marie Blessing, Audrey Condon, Dancile Nshimirimana, Francis Nguyen, Kassandra Hebert, Katie Hamilton, Darcy Goyette, instructor Mary Ann Gowell, Jessica Biron, Dinah Morris, Tracy Crossman, Sandra Barnich, Trisha Newcomb, Justine Gray, Lori Adkins, Melissa Dalton, Kelsa Brennan, Kayla Caron, Patti Saarinen of the Lewiston CareerCenter, Paula Bolduc, Julian Kirouac, Brittany Wilkins, Miranda Hutchinson, and WMCA Employment & Training Specialist Cathy Stairs.

St. Mary’s Health System recently held a graduation ceremony for 19 local students who completed a special train-to-work course designed to prepare them for jobs as Medical Assistants. Course instructor Mariann Gowell welcomed administrators, staff, family, friends, and community partners for the presentation of certificates. Brittany Blais, St. Mary’s Talent Acquisition Partner and Human Resources Manager, also shared remarks and thanked partners for making the program possible.

The graduates successfully completed a condensed, fast-paced curriculum designed to train them to assist physicians with the clinical responsibilities of a medical office. The program included 140 hours of classroom and lab training in such areas as routine lab procedures, phlebotomy, EKG management, and diagnostic testing. Following the classwork, students are completing the final weeks of a 160-hour externship schedule. Many of the students also earned a WorkReady certificate covering the topics of effective workplace communication techniques, resume and interviewing skills, conflict resolution, teamwork, and other important workplace skills. The combined curriculum empowers students with the skills and knowledge essential to the specific job field.

This employer-driven project was made possible by support and grant funding provided by Western Maine Community Action, the Bureau of Employment Services’ Competitive Skills Scholarship Program, and Gray-New Gloucester Adult Education.

“This graduation class is not only the result of the students’ dedication, but also a prime example of the train-to-work model, where business, education, and workforce development collaborate,” said Patti Saarinen of the Lewiston CareerCenter. “The integration of education and training is a best-practice model for success.”

“St. Mary’s Health System is proud of the success of the students who have completed this course,” said Brittany Blais. “It was a wonderful opportunity that will hopefully fulfill our need for qualified medical assistants and allow these students an opportunity to grow professionally in a rewarding career. We are very appreciative of the efforts that all parties contributed to make this project successful, and we wish the best of luck to these students.”

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