National Healthcare panel of experts identify solutions to issues that must be addressed to build an inclusive care economy infrastructure
WASHINGTON, D.C. – CareerSTAT leaders, and other members of the Healthcare Industry Recovery Panel formed by the National Skills Coalition and Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships, released a five-point policy proposal to inform negotiations around the president’s proposed $400 billion investment in care economy infrastructure under the American Jobs Plan.
Among the 15 members of this panel were CareerSTAT members Gerard Camacho of Atrium Health, Shana Lewis of Trinity Health, Joanne Pokaski of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Debbie Rowe of Genesis Healthcare. The panel called for a set of policies that responds to the growing demand for direct and allied healthcare workers, including expanding access to Pell grants and increasing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates.
“Supporting frontline workers is essential to the mission of CareerSTAT,” said Kelly Aiken, chief program officer at the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, which convenes CareerSTAT. “It was so important to have these leaders’ voices heard,” said Aiken, who also served on the panel, “as they have shown true commitment to investing in frontline workers in their own organizations, and they brought that expertise into these recommendations.”
Before the pandemic, frontline healthcare workers faced myriad problems that were only exacerbated once COVID hit; underpaid labor, lack of access to training, no transparency with regard career advancement. After COVID, many workers left the caring economy for jobs advertising higher pay and lower stress, increasing the already high number of unfilled jobs.
The panel convened to address these challenges and shape proposed investment in the Care Economy infrastructure. They outlined five critical pillars to driving an inclusive care economy, all of which can be viewed here.
- Prioritize workforce investments and equity under the American Jobs Plan by including resources to train new and incumbent workers for an expanded caring economy; investing in childcare, transportation assistance, and other wrap-around supports; and measuring outcomes with a focus on improving equity and job quality. In particular, providing quality, affordable, and flexible childcare is essential given the gender-based occupational segregation of direct and allied healthcare.
- Support industry engagement and equitable career pathways across the continuum of care by increasing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates, investing in Multi-Stakeholder Industry Partnerships to support inclusive career pathways, and encouraging state flexibility to support worker advancement and talent pipelines.
- Support nimble industry- and worker-responsive training and tuition assistance by funding integrated education and training to build foundational language and math skills; expanding access to Pell grants for high-quality, short-term training; expanding apprenticeship through the bipartisan PARTNERS Act; passing the Pathways to Healthcare Careers Act to support industry targeted training; and funding training provider capacity.
- Ensure healthcare workers and employers can adopt and adapt to new innovations by passing the bipartisan Digital Equity Act, investing in new digital literacy upskilling grants, developing a measurable national standard for industry-specific digital upskilling efforts, expanding access to broadband and high-quality devices, and creating a Healthcare Extension Program to help local providers innovate and adopt new technologies.
- Incentivize employer investment in worker training and advancement by passing the bipartisan SKILL UP Act and expanding the Section 127 tuition reimbursement program.
In addition to Healthcare, NSC and BLU convened three other recover panels for the following industries: Manufacturing, Infrastructure, and Retail/Hospitality. The Infrastructure panel recently released its recovery proposals and the Manufacturing and Retail/Hospitality panels will release their recommendations in the coming weeks.
CareerSTAT is a network of healthcare leaders promoting investment in the skills and careers of frontline workers. It supports healthcare organizations in using workforce development programs to increase business impact, improve health outcomes, and provide good jobs. CareerSTAT promotes innovative practices and policies for advancing frontline workers, produces an array of resources on the benefits of skill and career development, recognizes organizations leading the industry as Frontline Healthcare Worker Champions, and supports organizations developing investment programs. CareerSTAT is an initiative of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. Learn more at http://www.nationalfund.org/careerstat.
About National Fund for Workforce Solutions
The National Fund for Workforce Solutions invests in a dynamic national network of 30+ communities taking a demand-driven, evidence-based approach to workforce development. At the local level, the National Fund’s partner organizations contribute resources, test ideas, collect data, and improve public policies and business practices that help all workers succeed and employers have the talent they need to compete. Learn more at www.NationalFund.org.