America Needs a Bigger Healthcare Workforce

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For cities across America to remain competitive, and to continue to create healthy and vibrant communities, our nation needs to ensure that we have a trained and skilled workforce. The U.S. will need to hire 2.3 million more healthcare workers by 2025 to meet the growing workforce gaps that exist in every occupation across the sector.

On Tuesday, October 22, the House Committee on Ways & Means moved to invest in our healthcare workforce by marking up and voting on a series of health care legislation bills, including passing the Pathways to Health Careers Act (H.R. 3398), which invests in the Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) program. NLC was pleased to endorse this legislation earlier this year as it would:

  • Make an important investment in extending the current HPOG program demonstration grants; and
  • Institute regular, competitive HPOG grants to meet the growing workforce needs in our communities.

The Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) Program uses a career pathways approach to address the allied health workforce shortage. HPOG also provides meaningful opportunities for low-income people to achieve their career goals without worrying about barriers like affordable child care or transportation or licensing exam fees. The Pathways to Health Careers Act:

  • Continues funding for the current HPOG 2.0 grant cycle so that grantees can finish out their grants through 2020,
  • Expands the funding to provide HPOG competitive grants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia,
  • Dedicates increased funding amounts for tribal communities,
  • Dedicates funds for all of the US territories; and
  • Establishes two new demonstration projects to test the HPOG model on a career pathway for the pregnancy, birth, and post-partum field.

Investing in education and training that are combined with work supports and case management is a critical way to ensure that residents in our cities, towns and villages are ready to meet the growing business needs across sectors. We are pleased to see the House moving forward on legislation that invests in such training within the healthcare sector.

For more information, the Committee has released a fact sheet to provide more in-depth details on the legislation. We encourage NLC members to reach out to members of congress via Twitter, making sure to tag @WaysMeansCmte, with your support of this program. The goal is to generate as much support for the bill as possible this week with the goal of sending the bill to the House floor next week for a full vote.

SMR

About the Author: Stephanie Martinez-Ruckman is the Legislative Director for Human Development at the National League of Cities. Follow Stephanie on Twitter @martinezruckman.