UW Health partners with DWD and Madison College to create RN apprenticeships  

In a press release today, UW Health announced its new partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and Madison College to create one of the nation’s first registered nurse apprenticeships. The program represents an ongoing effort by UW Health to address the nursing workforce shortage. 

The four-year program is designed for racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse health care personnel from disciplines such as medical assistants and nursing assistants; it will support them in the pursuit of an associate degree in nursing and make them eligible to take the board examination to become registered nurses. 

Apprentices will receive comprehensive education and career pathway support from Madison College. Faculty will provide all classroom instruction, including two years of prerequisite coursework and two years of core nursing-specific courses in this apprenticeship program, pending approval from the Wisconsin Technical College System board.  

All tuition, books, and supplies, as well as full-time salaries and benefits for the apprentices will be supported by UW Health. The program will also provide holistic academic, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and community support.   

UW Health will hire two additional nurse educators, who will be mentored by Madison College faculty. The nurse educators will oversee the on-the-job training and clinical competency requirements for the nurse apprentices. Apprentices will work as nursing assistants for the first two years of the program and as student nurses for the last two years.  

Upon graduation and success on the board examination, the apprentices will transition into nursing positions at UW Health.  

Applications and testing for the first nursing apprenticeship cohort are taking place this spring. The first group will consist of 16 employees already working at UW Health. Future cohorts will include new employees. To meet eligibility requirements, medical assistants will need to hold an active certified nursing assistant (CNA) credential in the state of Wisconsin.