15 programs investing in 'talent pipelines' to overcome staffing shortages

As the staffing crisis continues to wreak havoc on the healthcare industry, states and systems are investing in "talent pipelines" for relief. 

Pipeline programs often provide students with discounted education or job security in a given healthcare system as an incentive to pursue a career in the field. 

The Biden administration has supported talent pipelines. The administration launched a Talent Pipeline Challenge on June 17, encouraging employers to train workers from their communities and rebuild workforces locally. That said, talent pipelines have been gaining speed in local governments, health systems and universities even before the federal push. 

These 15 organizations have launched healthcare talent pipelines: 

1. OhioHealth (Columbus): OhioHealth provides discounted education to all full- and some part-time associates in clinical critical-need programs: no out-of-pocket cost at eight partner colleges, and employer direct pay up to $5,250 at more than 50 partner colleges. 

2. Adventist Health Systems (Roseville, Calif.): Los Angeles-based COPE Health Solutions partnered with Adventist to form the COPE Health Scholars Medical Assistant Program. Students work at Adventist facilities and have "exclusive access" to job openings within the system. 

3. State of Colorado: In the fall, Colorado will launch Care Forward Colorado, consisting of no-cost training programs at community and technical colleges that take less than a year to complete. Certificates offered include certified nursing assistants, emergency medical technicians, phlebotomy and pharmacy technicians and medical and dental assistants. 

4. HCA Healthcare Capital Division (Richmond, Va.): The HCA Healthcare Capital Division allotted $800,000 in scholarships to students pursuing nursing careers in New Hampshire and Central and Southwest Virginia. Licensed practical nursing and licensed vocational nursing students will receive $7,000 each, while registered nursing students will receive $14,000. Recipients commit to working one year as a full-time employee in an HCA Healthcare facility upon completion of the program. 

5. EAB (Washington, D.C.): EAB, a consulting firm specializing in education institutions, partnered with Bank of America to create the Progresando Initiative. Using $1.25 billion from the Bank, the initiative will partner with 12 Hispanic-serving institutions in areas that need Hispanic-Latino healthcare workers. At Saint Elizabeth University in Morristown, N.J., the program's features, including a bilingual academic coach and supplemental instructions, are expected to double the number of Hispanic healthcare students. 

6. Westchester (N.Y.) County Association: Westchester County announced its Healthcare Talent Pipeline Program in February; it aims to recruit and train 100 people for high-demand healthcare jobs. 

7. NorthShore University Health System (Evanston, Ill.): Evanston's City Council and Northshore University Health System each contributed $200,000 to create a healthcare job pipeline for residents, the Chicago Tribune reported. The ASPIRE Evanston Community Healthcare Workforce Development Program hopes to target students and young adults in Evanston, offering training and internships for healthcare jobs. 

8. BHSH System (Grand Rapids, Mich.): The recently launched BHSH System has partnered with Grand Valley State University to launch the BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program. BHSH invested more than $19 million to provide infrastructure, resources and clinical placements for students in the program. Grand Valley, meanwhile, will improve financial aid, curriculum, technology, clinical and simulation experiences and student support services for nursing students. The program expects to encourage around 500 students to study nursing in the next six years. 

9. Coachella Valley (Calif.) partnerships: Several local health employers in the Coachella Valley of California have partnered with Palm Desert, Calif.-based OneFuture, an educational consulting company focused on college and career success, in their healthcare workforce pipeline program. Health systems near the valley, including Palm Springs-based Desert Care Network, Rancho Mirage-based Eisenhower Health, Palm Springs-based Desert Oasis Healthcare and Riverside University Health Systems, have provided internship placements for high school students while community organizations focus on mentorship and internships for first-generation college students. More than 1,000 students, many from underprivileged backgrounds, have been helped by the program since 2005, according to an article written by two OneFuture executives in the Desert Sun, and 51 percent have stayed in the valley after graduation. 

10. West Virginia University Health System (Morgantown): WVU Health's board of directors approved $3.2 million for a healthcare workforce development program and a 12,100-square-foot training facility, West Virginia News reported Aug. 30. Located in Keyser, W.Va. — which contains a high percentage of medically underserved individuals as well as high unemployment — the facility will provide healthcare certifications for professions such as phlebotomists, certified nursing assistants and community health workers. 

11. State of Kentucky: Kentucky's Talent Pipeline Management program partnered with more than 70 healthcare employers to improve its healthcare workforce statewide, the state's Chamber of Commerce reported. The pipeline partnered with Wilmington, N.C.-based software company CastleBranch to improve clinical scheduling software, helping more than 1,600 nursing students to find rotational sites, according to the chamber. Further, the pipeline partnered with the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program to expand support services for healthcare careers; they received a $2.5 million grant from the state Labor Cabinet. 

12. HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital: HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital has partnered with the Okaloosa County School District to form the Health Academy of Northwest Florida. Students at the academy will enroll in a practical nursing course and receive clinical training at the hospital their senior year. Upon graduation, they can earn training certifications as certified nursing assistants or electrocardiogram technicians, or work toward a licensed practical nursing certification. Graduates will have placement opportunities at HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital, and if employed by the hospital, they will be eligible for tuition reimbursement for higher education. 

13. State of Connecticut: CareerConneCT, launched by the state's Office of Workforce Strategy, uses federal pandemic relief money to train and place individuals at in-demand jobs across the state. The 19 targeted industries include multiple placements for entry-level healthcare roles and healthcare IT. 

14. Berkshire Health Systems (Pittsfield, Mass.): Berkshire Health Systems has invested around $7 million in talent pipelines. The system covers all training costs and gives its trainees full-time pay with benefits. The pipeline encourages pursuit of higher education, turning nursing assistants into full-time nurses, for example. 

15. Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network: More than $45.7 million in American Rescue Plan funding was allotted to this program, which aims to connect rural and tribal health networks with allied health workers. The nationwide program trains workers for in-demand healthcare positions in four training tracks — community health support, health IT and telehealth, case management and respiratory therapists, and community paramedicine — while connecting rural sectors to "leverage their collective strengths," according to the program's website. 

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