AUGUSTA — Sixteen nurses at Maine General Medical Center received certificates Monday for completing the hospital’s Front Line Nurse Leader Apprenticeship programs.

The certificates were presented by Commissioner Jeanne Paquette of the Maine Department of Labor as part of a National Apprenticeship Week celebration.

Paquette noted that MaineGeneral operates the first health care apprenticeship in the state, according to a press release about the event from hospital.

“Apprenticeship is an important tool for workforce development in Maine,” Paquette said in the release. “People can enter a new career and earn while they learn with raises built in along the way. The apprenticeship model works for any industry where there is a mix of hands-on and classroom learning, and these graduates represent the future of this training model in Maine in industries beyond the trades.”

MaineGeneral has three nurse apprenticeship programs: critical care unit, emergency department and front line leaders. Over the past three years, the program has grown from a handful of nurses to 70 this year.

MaineGeneral CEO Chuck Hays said the apprenticeship was a natural choice.

“We have to focus on growing our own workforce if we will succeed in meeting the challenges of the impending nursing shortage,” Hays said in the release. “This program helps us prepare a highly qualified, experienced nursing staff to ensure the level of care we provide is the highest quality. It’s what our community needs and deserves, and we want to provide them the best care now and into the future.”

Those earning certificates in the Front Line Nurse Leader Apprenticeship program are Sherry Collins and Elizabeth Doyen of Clinton, Amy Adams of Windsor, Margaret Almand of Hartland, Kathleen Clark of Manchester, MaryAnn Constanzer and Lisa Snow-Manelick of South China, Rick Haase of Augusta, Susan McDonald of Monmouth, Naomi Miller of Union, Janet Peacock of Chelsea, Mary Rogers of Belgrade, Tina Stubbert Roy of Waterville, Karen Takatsu of West Gardiner, Janice Tillson of Winslow, and Ellen Treadwell of Fairfield.

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