Ds Scholarship

Blood supply company paying full tuition for GRCC students in phlebotomy program

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Community College has announced a new scholarship program that will cover full tuition costs for four students each year who enroll in the college’s phlebotomy program.

Versiti, a company that supplies life-saving blood for medical procedures in Michigan and four other Midwestern states, is funding the annual scholarship program in an effort to encourage more people from underrepresented populations to consider a career as a phlebotomist, according to a GRCC news release.

“Versiti is committed to building ethnic diversity within the donor population,” said Hannah Tuuri, Versiti Inc.’s talent acquisition specialist, in a prepared statement. “The scholarship is designed to help us develop diversity within our industry and teams to ensure that we reflect the population in which we serve.”

The blood supplier will award four Versiti Phlebotomy Skills Scholarships each year, covering full tuition for GRCC’s Phlebotomy Skills program, which teaches students how to collect blood safely.

Tuition for the 10-week program amounts to $1,243 for the next cohort, which begins May 4, GRCC spokesperson David Murray told MLive.

Students will be sent an application to apply for the scholarship after they enroll in the program, Murray said. The award will be granted to four students each year who come from an underrepresented population and who meet the mission of Versiti by striving “to enhance lives through discovery, diagnosis, and treatment,” he said.

The first two scholarships for this year have already been granted to students in the ongoing session of the program, which started Feb. 7, according to the release.

GRCC offers its 10-week Phlebotomy Skills program in a hybrid format, where lectures are presented online and small groups of students meet in-person for labs and demonstrations, according to the college.

Linda Witte, program developer for GRCC’s health certificate programs, described the program as a “skill-building course.”

“About half of the people who come into this class are already working in health care, and the other half are looking for that entry-level job,” she said in a statement.

There is a growing demand for people to enter the field of phlebotomy, Witte said.

Demand for phlebotomists is projected to grow by 21% each year with 400 job openings annually, according to the release.

“We know the importance of our hospitals having access to donated blood,” Murray said in a statement to MLive. “While we need people to donate, we also need people who are trained in collecting the blood and doing it safely. Programs like this ease the financial burden for people training for those in-demand careers, making the classes more accessible.”

Kathryn Mullins, vice president of college advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation, said the scholarship program will benefit all of West Michigan by encouraging more people to become phlebotomists.

“Community partners like Versiti are critical to GRCC’s role of providing people with opportunities for higher education and training skills,” she said in a prepared statement.

Applicants can find out more information about GRCC’s healthcare certificate programs, including the phlebotomy program, by visiting the college’s website, here.

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