ARCH offers scholarships for MCOE healthcare training programs


To address a shortage of local healthcare workers, the Alliance for Rural Community Health (ARCH) is offering $2,000 scholarships to qualified applicants who enroll in medical assistant or dental assistant training programs through the Mendocino County Office of Education and agree to complete their externship at an ARCH-member health center in their community (Boonville, Fort Bragg, Gualala, Lakeport, Laytonville, Point Arena, Ukiah, or Willits).

The scholarship covers approximately half of the cost of the program. Applications are available online at The deadline for the scholarship application is Dec. 4.

Dental assistants often work in dental clinics or dental offices preparing patients for treatments and teeth cleanings, processing x-rays, and working with patients on billing issues. Becoming a dental assistant is the first step in becoming a registered dental assistant and obtaining additional specialty certificates.

Classes run Jan. 9 through May 16, 2024, and are held in Ukiah on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:15 to 9:15 p.m. Once classroom training concludes, students must complete a 120-hour externship. The cost is $4,000, which can be paid in two installments.

Medical assistants work alongside medical providers, primarily in outpatient or ambulatory care facilities, such as health clinics and assisted living centers. They have both administrative and clinical responsibilities, including updating medical charts and scheduling appointments, as well as preparing patients for a doctor’s examination and collecting laboratory samples. Medical assisting is a fast-growing occupation and is often an entry point for people aspiring to become nurses.

Medical assistant classes are held in Ukiah, Monday through Thursday from 4:30 to 8 p.m., Jan. 2 through Oct. 10, 2024. The cost is $4,500, which can be paid in two installments.

MCHC Health Centers is a federally qualified health center with clinics in Ukiah, Willits, and Lakeport. It provides externship opportunities for students studying to become dental assistants and medical assistants.

“MCHC is happy to support local training programs. The more we can encourage compassionate and dedicated people to pursue a career in healthcare the better,” MCHC CEO Rod Grainger said.

Not only does MCHC provide a clinical setting for students to hone their skills, it also provides some tuition reimbursement to full-time employees who have worked there for at least a year. MCHC is one of several ARCH members. ARCH is a consortium dedicated to strengthening and supporting its network of Mendocino and Lake County community health centers to improve the health of local communities and provide access to quality health care for all.

Other ARCH members include: Anderson Valley Health Center, Baechtel Creek Medical Clinic, Long Valley Health Center, Mendocino Coast Clinics, and Redwood Coast Medical Services. All members offer externships for MCOE’s medical training programs.

ARCH President Lucresha Renteria of Mendocino Coast Clinics said, “Community health centers all over Mendocino County work hard to recruit and train local people. We realize the advantages of a workforce made up of people who come from – and want to give back to – their community. Our goal with the ARCH scholarships is to make it easier for people to start a career in healthcare in their hometown.”

To learn more about working at MCHC (including a list of current job openings), visit For more information about MCOE’s medical training programs, visit& For details about ARCH, visit For questions regarding the ARCH scholarship, email Miranda Ramos at and include “Scholarship Application” in the subject line.