CareerSTAT Academy Member Spotlight: Advocate Aurora Health

CareerSTAT Healthcare Workforce Development Academy

Beginning in November 2017, CareerSTAT brought together 11 healthcare organizations for the CareerSTAT Healthcare Workforce Development Academy. This year-long learning experience helps healthcare organizations develop more diverse talent pipelines, better retain and advance their entry-level staff, and proactively fill critical healthcare positions. An initiative of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, CareerSTAT is a network of nearly 300 healthcare professionals who are committed to advancing healthcare’s frontline workers. The Academy supports CareerSTAT’s goal to accelerate the adoption of business practices that support frontline worker education, training, and advancement. Over the coming months, we are profiling each of the Academy participants and their progress. Read profiles of other CareerSTAT Academy Members here

Advocate Aurora Health

Develop the Workers You Have and Recruit Local Talent

The Overview

Striving to provide the best care for communities in Illinois and Wisconsin, in 2018, Advocate Health Care merged with Aurora Health Care to form Advocate Aurora Health. The new organization now operates more than 500 care facilities and 27 hospitals. It employs nearly 70,000 frontline team members and caregivers and more than 3,300 physicians who serve nearly three million patients each year. Transforming the healthcare delivery model is a shared commitment of the organization. Upskilling current frontline team members is integral to this process.

The Work

A top goal for Advocate Aurora Health is to further develop the current associate-level workforce. Advocate Aurora Health learned the practices and tools that helped them establish a dedicated, system-wide workforce development department with staff focused on workforce issues. This work allowed them to expand an existing program, called NAVIGATE, aimed at building a more inclusive workforce. NAVIGATE gives current employees opportunities to develop new skills, determine new health care career pathways, and take advantage of available tools and resources to further their careers and improve their lives.

Advocate Aurora Health wanted to develop a program for frontline workers, with the apprenticeship model in mind. The health system decided to pilot a medical assistant program to upskill frontline workers into high-demand, well-paying roles, making it a win-win-win for Advocate Aurora Health, its team members, and patients.

The Results

Clayton Pryor is director of workforce development for Advocate Aurora Health. “The Advocate Workforce Initiative is a modern and sustainable solution to the growing need for skilled talent to fill high-demand health care jobs across the region.” Because of the work, the system has seen a trend toward higher retention among workforce development program participants.

“The NAVIGATE program taught me a great deal about patience and how important my attitude is and the impact on others. I am much more confident and encouraged. This program helped me in so many ways!” #FutureSurgicalTechnologist

Alicia Appleton, NAVIGATE Graduate, Advocate Trinity Hospital

The Future

With the merger now complete, new senior leaders have been added to further build sustainability and expand on this work. The existing career pathways map will be updated to encompass the entire health system. In addition, they plan to further explore their community anchor strategy, which will likely include a local hire initiative. Looking ahead, Advocate Aurora Health is committed to championing this work throughout the organization.


About CareerSTAT

CareerSTAT is a network of nearly 300 healthcare professionals who are committed to advancing healthcare’s frontline workers. Learn more at