There is a shortage of dental assistants (DA) and registered dental assistants (RDA). Together the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA), California Dental Association (CDA), Abby Snay, Deputy Secretary at the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the Workforce Partnership collaborated to train individuals to receive the training necessary to become DAs, with no prior experience required. 

The Work 

In July 2021, the pilot Dental Assistant Program launched. Participants attended a four-week bootcamp readiness training focusing on three key topics each week: introduction to dentistry and compliance, procedures and materials, and patient care. Each module was 2-3 hours with an accompanying classroom lesson. Participants had 10 hours in a classroom setting and 30 hours of online learning each week. Training included 15 days of e-learning on the Elsevier Evolve platform, classroom sessions and four days of on-the-job training in a dental facility. Participants completed the bootcamp with the knowledge and skills required to begin their journey as dental assistants.    



22 participants graduated from the Dental Assistant Program and each participant received a $1,600 stipend. The Workforce Partnership will place 100% of the participants in employment with a starting hourly wage of $20.00 or more per hour and is offering on-the-job training subsidies to employers – reimbursements to hire and train. Additionally, employers benefit from efficient recruiting, targeted training and assistance with training expenses.  

“I learned a lot during the program, not only how to run an actual practice but how to work with diverse people and how to work as a team. I would do the bootcamp again.” Ashlie H.