GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan hospital systems are seeing a growing need for medical and clinical assistants.

The certificate training program for medical assistants with Grand Rapids Community College is trying to keep up with demand.     

Linda Witte, the director of the program, says the need has only grown in recent years.

“Our program started in 2010, and really, there has always been a high need voiced by our employers for medical assistants but right now, really, I think it’s reaching critical levels,” Witte said.

GRCC is looking at ways to increase the number of graduates through its program as they receive more requests from employers.

“Every time we ask them about the capacity and how many openings that they have and whether there’s a high need, and they continue to say that there’s a high need and it’s only increasing,” Witte said.

Witte said there are about 300 openings for medical assistants right now just in Kent County.

“Even for a one-day snap shots. That’s a lot of job openings. That’s a high need because they want to be able to provide more healthcare, but the lack of medical assistants sometimes holds them back,” Witte said.

Other positions in demand are clinical assistants, which include a variety of support positions that do not require a certification. 

Adam Bogema with Bronson Healthcare recruiting says the hospital system has a strong need for these positions, which work primarily in a hospital setting.

“30 plus is probably what we’re looking at,” Bogema said. “These positions are very in-demand within the clinical space right now especially. You know there’s been a lot of burnout from COVID-19. There are some people that are exiting the profession all together. There’s so many different factors.”

Bronson is now offering sign-on bonuses of up to $5,000. The medical provider said finding enough workers to meet the need is an issue across the country.

“No matter what organization you are. We’re really all looking for these candidates right now and really wanting to be able to provide the best care for our patients,” Bogema said.

Bronson will be holding job fairs on Tuesday and Wednesday next week for clinical assistants.

For more information on the GRCC Medical Assistant program, visit its website.