Parkland Health & Hospital System: From the Moment They Walk in the Door

A Holistic Approach to Supporting Frontline Healthcare Talent

Parkland Health & Hospital System is one of the largest public hospital systems in the country. This safety net health facility serves Dallas County, Texas, and is the first organization to go from being recognized as a CareerSTAT Frontline Healthcare Worker Emerging Champion (2016) to being recognized as a Champion (2019).

Parkland began directing new investments in frontline workers in 2015, when they focused on training and career development opportunities. In 2017, they joined the inaugural CareerSTAT Healthcare Workforce Development Academy*, a year-long learning experience that helps healthcare organizations develop more diverse talent pipelines, better retain and advance their entry-level staff, and proactively fill critical positions.

After several years of doing this work, and aided by their participation in the Academy, Parkland has gone well beyond training and career development. They are taking a holistic approach to their recruitment and retention strategy, engaging underserved members of the community and providing them with opportunities to succeed.

Parkland knows that ensuring success and retention of frontline workers ideally starts as soon they set foot in the door. To that end, Parkland has restructured their onboarding process to create a more balanced learning experience that addresses three key questions: ‘who we are,’ ‘why you matter,’ and ‘how can we support you.’ After 90 days of workshops, lunch-and-learn sessions, and other group activities, workers are fully engaged – both in Parkland’s culture and in their own careers. More importantly, employees know that Parkland is fully invested in their success.

Parkland’s commitment to workforce development strategies merges several key best practices that allow current workers and new recruits from the local community to keep earning a paycheck while participating in educational opportunities to help them advance. These range from training and certification to GED, associate, and bachelor’s degree programs. Parkland is also introducing a patient care assistant apprenticeship program, often considered the gold standard in workforce development, to build a talent pipeline that can address future staffing needs.

“Our advice to other organizations considering investing in their frontline staff? Listen to your frontline employees and include them during the development process. And find key stakeholders who will support the initiative. Including them in the beginning allows them the opportunity to ask questions and provide necessary feedback.” — Sheila Rawlins, Senior Career Development Consultant, Parkland Health & Hospital System

The investment has truly paid off. In 2018, more than 500 frontline workers participated in Parkland’s workforce development programs, and the organization has seen a 200% increase in retention for high-demand frontline jobs.

“Being named a CareerSTAT Champion is an honor. Being a Champion shows that we provide programs that bring value to our frontline employees. With that in mind, we recognize there is more we can offer.” — Sheila Rawlins

*Read profiles of other CareerSTAT Academy Members here

CareerSTAT’s Frontline Healthcare Worker Champion program recognizes healthcare organizations investing in the careers and skills of their frontline workers. Organizations are designated as Champions and Emerging Champions. Champions meet all of CareerSTAT’s recognition criteria, including making skill and career development accessible, offering programs at a significant scale, measuring program business impact, and building sustainable programs. Emerging Champions are in earlier stages of investment and working with CareerSTAT leaderships to strengthen their programs. Learn more at