U of Pittsburgh tackles dental assistant shortage with new apprenticeship

The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine is launching a 14-month paid apprenticeship program for dental assistants to address workforce shortages.

The program is funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. The university is partnering with Pittsburgh Public Schools to recruit six students who are expected to start in January 2023, according to an Oct. 3 news release.

"There is an extreme shortage of dental assistants in the United States, including here in our own building, so we were looking for creative solutions to solve this problem," Jim Earle, executive dean for strategic development and operations at the dental school, said in the release.

The program will focus on recruiting underrepresented minority students to help diversify the dental industry.

Students will be paid to complete the apprenticeship and have all their tuition and exam fees covered.

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