CareerSTAT Academy Member Spotlight: Tufts Medical Center

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

Tufts Medical Center

Working with Partner Organizations to Fill in the Skills-Gaps

The Overview

Building a talent pipeline is all about recruitment and training. Employers today need to get creative to attract talent. Tufts Medical Center got creative by first identifying skills gaps and then creating programs to close the gaps. Employing over 1,500 frontline workers in Boston, Tufts Medical Center is nurturing talent from within their organization and paths to career advancement for existing staff.

The Work

Any training program starts with understanding the need and then setting goals. By joining the CareerSTAT Healthcare Workforce Development Academy, Tufts Medical Center set out to accelerate and expand its investments in frontline workers.

Through the Academy, Tufts Medical Center learned from a cohort of peers as they created tailored programs for their staff in Boston. They began by drafting a multi-year strategy to make the business case for creating workforce development programs. Not surprisingly, aligning business goals with workforce training and education won over senior leaders.

Support from the top on down is critical when integrating workforce development into business operations. Tufts Medical Center knows that managers across departments can positively impact programs because they see firsthand what kind of training employees need and what skills are in short supply.

Once the internal staff is on board, it is time to build partnerships with community organizations and companies that can help identify training and education gaps from the community perspective, and Tufts Medical Center is working with community-based organizations develop demand-driven training programs.

For example, they have partnered with JVS Boston to create pipeline training programs for pharmacy technicians and certified nursing assistants. JVS recruits the candidates and presents them to Tufts. After they complete JVS’ training program, they are guaranteed a job at Tufts Medical Center.

The medical center also has a longstanding relationship with the Asian American Civic Association. This partnership helped Tufts to reinstate English language classes for frontline employees. The success of the initial cohort led to new grant funding that supports two hours of paid release time for employees to participate in the class.

The Results

Tufts Medical Center is gathering data on their new work. They are tracking employee engagement scores, professional development participation, and retention and advancement among frontline workers. Early data is already showing that retention rates are increasing and employee engagement is improving. For the English language program, the offer of paid release time increased second year enrollment in the program by 86%.

The Future

The journey is just beginning, and Tufts Medical Center is ready. The career pathways initiative is underway and is being heavily promoted to increase awareness and encourage participation. There are also ongoing training programs and Tufts is looking to add two more by the end of 2019. Upskilling your frontline workers makes good business sense. Providing staff with training opportunities can fill in the gaps with the skills needed to succeed.