Expanding a Skilled Workforce
The Healthcare Workforce Partnership of Western Massachusetts is using the region’s success in nursing as a template for addressing shortages and skill gaps in allied health occupations.
The Partnership uses the term “allied health” to describe the cluster of careers that are distinct from physicians, nurses, or dentists, and are involved (either directly or indirectly) with patient care.
The Partnership is working to:
- Increase the pool of competent job seekers
- Formalize the region’s healthcare career ladders
- Provide career guidance to new and current healthcare workers
- Make available additional skill and training opportunities
- Prepare job seekers for entry level positions
- Build cultural competence for all stakeholders
Allied Health Priority Occupations
Allied health encompasses over 200 different health professions. In order to focus its work in this area, the Healthcare Workforce Partnership, with input from local employers, has identified the following occupations for future research and career pathway development. For these “priority occupations,” there is a gap between supply and demand or the occupational requirements are changing rapidly.
- Medical Coders
- Community Health Workers
- Entry-level Direct Care Workers (including home health aides, certified nurse assistants, patient care technicians and personal care attendants)
- Medical Assistants
- Mid-levels: Physician’s Assistants and Nurse Practitioners
- Physical Therapists
- Physical Therapy Assistants
- Medical Lab Technicians/Technologists
Moving forward, the Partnership will engage in a career pathway development process that involves employers, educators and the workforce development system. The steps involved in the career development process include:
- Engage employers to improve understanding of priority occupations and define common career pathway elements
- Clarify partner roles and responsibilities in designing and implementing career pathways
- Create a career pathway road map for each priority occupation, including required education and credentials
- Redesign education programs to provide a clear sequence of education courses and credentials that meet the skill needs of targeted occupations
If you are interested in joining the Allied Health working group or supporting this work, please contact us for more information.