Seed capital from public or private grants can bring employers and other stakeholders together to kickstart workforce development efforts. Co-investment with philanthropy, other employers, unions, community-based organizations, and government is a strategic path to sustained operational support for frontline worker development. With outside funding, healthcare workforce investments can be more intensive (more services and programs) and more extensive (accommodating more individuals and in a broader range of occupations and career pathways). After an initial period of grant funding, many employers assume some or all the costs of frontline workforce programs – a key sustainability metric.
To secure outside funding, identify a shared priority among partners and develop a vision to address the issue. Strong proposals address how programs impact individuals and the broader community. Highlight pathways to family-sustaining wages and your organization’s commitment to address equity and inclusion by serving people from traditionally underserved or underrepresented populations. Demonstrate a willingness to co-invest in solutions if they are successful as funders expect employers to incorporate these practices into standard operations.
Seed funding and co-invested funds are available from a wide variety of sources, such as a community or corporate foundation, a funders collaborative, local United Way, or the public workforce development system. Sometimes it is possible or necessary to obtain and leverage funds from one source to secure additional funding from another. It is also common to leverage community partners’ funding to support specific services or deliverables.
Healthcare systems should consider the following roles and responsibilities to secure and manage funding:
Communicate with potential funders and partners about your health system’s needs and opportunities.
Consider joint proposals with community partners. Alternate serving as the fiscal agent, based on the funding source and any recipient restrictions.
Develop a process to hold sub-contracted partners accountable for grant objectives and outcomes.
Have a strategy to sustain grant funded programs with operational support.
Build and maintain a strong relationship with key personnel at potential and secured funding sources.