In the next decade, 3.5 million new U.S. jobs will be created in the healthcare sector, while today hundreds of thousands of entry-level and middle-skilled roles in healthcare are sitting unfilled. These jobs will play a critical role as our system increasingly focuses on value-based care, care coordination, and other skilled services. Tying these front-line jobs to clearly defined career pathways and training could create ladders of opportunity for millions of Americans to move from entry-level jobs into middle-class careers.
Creating career pathways for more Americans to punch their tickets to the middle class has been a priority for the President from day one. That’s why we have focused competitive funding on incentivizing stronger employer and training provider partnerships. For example, between 2011 and 2014, we invested $2 billion in Job-Driven Training Community College Grants (TAA-CCCT) to upgrade and create programs matched to local employer needs at nearly half of the nation’s community colleges, with a significant focus on the healthcare sector.
Earlier this year, the White House, Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services brought together human resource executives from 21 leading healthcare systems to assess the impact of these investments on their companies. One of these employers, Dr. Ram Raju, President and CEO of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, noted, “As I think about transforming our system, one of the most critical elements for success is having high-quality, diverse talent that can engage patients in improving their health- not just providing routine health care services.”
Others provided examples of the positive impact that aligned partnerships with public training and workforce institutions had on their businesses and communities: Mercy Health West Michigan, a Regional Health Ministry of Trinity Health, reported that their efforts had reduced first-year turnover of new hires from 25% to 18% with a net annual savings of more than $3.2 million.
Since that convening, we have been working with a select group of employers to develop a plan to scale up and sustain progress. Today, in response to the Vice President’s call to action, over 50 organizations are coming together to launch the Health Careers Pathways initiative (HCP), a new privately-led effort that builds on a career pathways framework developed with a $19.6 million Job-Driven Training Community College Department of Labor grant to better match up training with employer needs at a more national scale. HCP will launch with these three main goals:
The main components of the Health Career Pathways initiative include:
Healthcare Employer Task Force
The Advisory Board Company will convene leading healthcare employers to agree on common ways to describe and measure the skills needed for health care jobs to make it easier for training programs to target in-demand professional skills and to help workers translate their skills to move between different employers and roles. Task force members will develop and recommend a training and retention framework for entry- and middle-skilled healthcare workers. Members will convene regularly and will provide recommendations in a final report by the end of the year that will be widely disseminated to employers, training providers, policy makers, and other workforce organizations. While the full task force members will be named in the coming weeks, initial members include: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC); Sutter Health; New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation; Fairview Health Services; and Mercy Health West Michigan, a Regional Health Ministry of Trinity Health.
Health Career Pathways Communities
Brought together by Hope Street Group, seven founding HCP communities – composed of 15 healthcare systems, 11 community colleges and systems, 7 workforce boards, and 12 community-based organizations – will adopt a common career pathways model and support more than 1,000 disadvantaged Americans with training and placement into jobs with approaches like paid internships and career counseling. The National Association of Workforce Boards, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, Office of Community College Research & Leadership, and Goodwill International Industries will all contribute to this effort. Founding communities have made the following commitments:
Ryan Burke is a Senior Policy Advisor for the National Economic Council.