Curtis Johnson, Senior Fellow at Education Evolving: It’s Time to Upend Current Models of Education

For those concerned about teacher burnout and retention issues in K-12 education, Curtis Johnson has seen an innovative model in action that could provide an answer: let teachers run the schools. Johnson, a veteran educator, policy analyst and author, says there are already several hundred such schools in twenty-three states, what he describes as a slow growing movement. While interviewing staff at these schools for his book A New Deal for Teachers, he heard a consistent message. “They first convince me that they’re working harder than they’ve ever worked in their lives and then they go on to say that nobody ought to ever take this away from them because they have more fulfillment professionally and personally. These schools hold on to most all of their teachers every year,” he tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. Johnson is attracted to ideas that upend what he considers failing models of education, as you might expect from the co-author of Disrupting Class, which argues for shifting to a personalized and mastery-based approach. “Students today are so different from previous generations that you’ve got to treat them individually, yet in the current system of K-12, it’s not financially feasible to regard them as individuals and so personalization is something that people claim, but rarely do.” Tune in for a candid conversation about breaking the grip of centralized systems, how K-12 education should incorporate AI, and why he believes up to half of colleges and universities in the US will close in the next decade.

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David Jarrard, Chairman of Jarrard, Inc.: Keeping The Human Touch In The Age of Digital Communications

As almost any employer can tell you, today’s workers have high expectations for compensation, the quality of their work experience, and the level of work-life balance. Today’s WorkforceRx guest, David Jarrard, would add one key item to that list: they also expect to have a voice when organizations make important decisions. That means leaders have to engage with workers, not just communicate to them, and that requires creating opportunities for dialogue. “There’s ways for ideas to be shared back and forth so that even if the ideas that are shared aren’t the ones that are adopted, there was a sense of being heard, a sense of being listened to. We have found it to be extremely valuable to retention,” he tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. One of the best approaches is for leaders to rely less on the ever-expanding array of digital communications tools and take the old school approach of walking the halls. “To build trust you’ve got to look somebody in the eye. You’ve got to shake their hand. You’ve got to have that moment of pause where you can actually listen and be in the presence of another person. It’s a fundamentally important investment right now.” Tune in for a wide array of other insights from a seasoned pro that more than 1,000 healthcare organizations across forty-five states have turned to for guidance on how to communicate with internal and external audiences about restructurings, workforce challenges and other high stakes issues.

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Sheila Ireland, President & CEO of Philadelphia OIC: Empathy, Not Sympathy, In Workforce Development

“It is not enough to suggest that people who are unemployed simply need to get a job. For us, it’s about connecting to your understanding of what is your vision for yourself and your families? How do you add value, because you are valuable and we need your contribution,” says Sheila Ireland, president and CEO of Philadelphia OIC, a venerable force in the city’s workforce training landscape. Workforce development as a tool for economic empowerment and social justice is in the DNA of OIC, and it’s a philosophy Ireland, who has 30 years of leadership experience in human resources and workforce training, is building on as she tackles persistently high rates of poverty and unemployment in what is ranked as the poorest big city in America. As she tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, she believes the formula for success has to include high expectations of clients and private sector partners who can move trainees beyond the first rung of the career ladder. Tune in for a candid and super insightful discussion of best practices in workforce training and stay tuned to hear about positive signs in Philadelphia of growing job opportunities in the tech sector and higher ed institutions being more responsive to the needs of lower-income students.

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Karilyn Van Oosten, VP of Strategic Business Development at Unitek Learning: Partnering with Employers for Onsite Training

In the battle against declining enrollments and declining perceptions of value, higher education organizations need to be flexible and meet employers and students where they are, says today’s WorkforceRx guest Karilyn Van Oosten. Her company, Unitek Learning — a provider of workforce solutions and career training programs for the healthcare industry — is doing that literally by bringing its educational offerings on site to healthcare organizations in what it calls a “school in the box” model. “They’re able to go ahead and provide the setting for the clinicals and the skills lab, and we’re able to go ahead and provide the curriculum, approvals, faculty…all of the pieces that are necessary to be able to deliver the curriculum and have these individuals be practice ready the moment they graduate,” she tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. As for providing value to students, Van Oosten says the key is understanding they want fast-paced educational experiences that allow them to move smoothly into the workforce. Meeting that need without sacrificing quality is the challenge. Don’t miss this compelling conversation in which Van Oosten also shares her insights on stackable credentials, ‘learn and earn’ programs, and other signs of flexibility in workforce training programs that are trying to deliver the healthcare providers we all need.

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Rick Brooks, Rhode Island’s Director of Healthcare Workforce Transformation: Creativity Born of Crisis

“Because of the workforce shortages, there is more creativity and more willingness to be innovative, and I think we can make something out of this crisis,” says Rick Brooks, who has his hands full leading Rhode Island’s efforts to strengthen and grow the healthcare workforce. His optimism is based on new levels of engagement by key stakeholders to find solutions and the formation of some unlikely collaborations to bring them to life. “For example, there are partnerships happening between higher education programs that have traditionally viewed each other as competitors to develop agreements that grant credits for non-credit activities,” he tells Futuro Health CEO and WorkforceRx host Van Ton-Quinlivan. He also cites licensure boards being open to rethinking education requirements for nursing faculty and the recredentialing of foreign trained health professionals, and other signs of innovation. In this expansive conversation, Brooks, a veteran labor educator, advocate and leader, shares strategies and insights on a wide array of issues including loan repayment programs, expanding clinical placement opportunities and redesigning career ladders with more, and more achievable, rungs so that people can stay in the healthcare field. It’s an impressive menu of options that might just inspire some creative thinking of your own.

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Dr. Sarita Mohanty, President & CEO of The SCAN Foundation: Collaborative Solutions to Support Aging Well

The growing crisis in homelessness across the US has understandably garnered a lot of news coverage and attention from policymakers, and today’s WorkforceRx guest wants to make sure one key facet of the problem is not overlooked as solutions are discussed. “There’s a lot of over-representation of older people in the homelessness rates, and older Black Californians — and this is a staggering statistic — are five times more likely to become homeless than their white counterparts,” says Dr. Sarita Mohanty, president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation, whose work is centered in the nexus of age, poverty and equity. As one of the largest foundations in the US focused on improving the quality of health and life for older adults, The SCAN Foundation supports a wide variety of initiatives to address the complex factors preventing many Americans from aging well. On this episode, Dr. Mohanty shares some positive notes with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan about statewide efforts in California that include expanded Medicaid access, moves to professionalize the home care workforce and the formation of Master Plans of Aging (MPA) at the state and local level. “There are some important areas of need that these MPA stakeholders are identifying and then they’re actually advocating at a policy level to get these addressed.” Stay tuned for many more examples of cross-sector collaborations that are accelerating solutions to this critically important problem affecting Americans of all ages.

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Mark Burns, Executive Director of Homebridge: Innovative Retention Strategies in Home Care

Most home care workers are women of color working more than one job, struggling to afford childcare, and doing difficult work without any prospects for advancement. It’s no wonder, then, that it’s hard to find and retain workers for these critically needed positions. Making matters worse is a competitive job market for entry level workers which means people can find less taxing positions for the same pay. That’s why today’s WorkforceRx guest, Mark Burns, is so pleased to be involved in California’s new $200 million Career Pathways program which is designed to increase wages, skill levels and career mobility for this workforce. As Executive Director of the San Francisco-based Homebridge home care agency and a key leader in the Career Pathways initiative, Burns is hoping to reach up to 250,000 Californians with paid training classes across the state. “Having any training available is fairly rare for this population, but having paid training is almost unheard of, so we’re thrilled,” he tells Van Ton-Quinlivan, CEO of Futuro Health, which is contributing asynchronous training options to the effort. On a parallel track to Career Pathways, Burns is busy transitioning Homebridge to an employment model that offers progressive wage increases as workers gain skills, with an eye on professionalizing the occupation. “People know innately that they’re adding a great deal of value that is of a professional scale that helps with people’s wellness and helps them stay stable in the community, but there’s no system of validation for that.” Don’t miss this chance for a detailed look at leading edge innovations in home care workforce development that could stabilize and improve access to care for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.

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Paurvi Bhatt, MPH, Healthcare Executive and Care Economy Leader: Retaining Employees By Supporting Their Role in Caring for Others

“It’s hard to bring what happens in the living room and the dining room into the boardroom,” says Paurvi Bhatt, board director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers and corporate executive. “I don’t think we can do that anymore.” Put another way, most of us are providing care to a loved one, and being open about that with colleagues, she thinks, can create a culture of understanding that will increase employee wellbeing. In fact, she believes that trend has already begun. “Leaders at all levels are starting to be much more vocal and vulnerable in sharing what’s happening with them. There isn’t a feeling that the only way to succeed is by hiding that these parts of your life exist,” she tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. In addition, companies have access to new employee benefit options designed to relieve some of the administrative burden of caregiving. “A beautiful set of things are coming up for employers to take a look at. It’s a reimagining of what benefits can look like.” Despite this progress, daunting challenges remain to make caring for loved ones at home viable, which Bhatt analyzes with the keen eye of someone who built a career as a global health leader despite heavy family caregiving responsibilities of her own. Tune in for a wisdom drop on how to rebrand the role of caregivers, reinvigorate the home care workforce, provide ethnically adapted care and get the home truly ready for home care.

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Dr. Angela Jackson, Founder of Future Forward Strategies: Reimagining Employee Benefits for a More Equitable Future of Work

“One of the trends that we’ll see in 2023 is a reimagining of benefits. You’ll see more employers thinking about how they can meet an employee where they are so they feel valued,” says Dr. Angela Jackson, who is the embodiment of a future-focused leader in workforce development.
Employers would also be wise to understand the lived realities of employees in order to address what Jackson has dubbed the “social determinants of work” such as childcare and transportation. As founder of the labor market intelligence firm Future Forward Strategies, Jackson is plugged-in to shifting worker demands that are shaped by COVID’s influence on how people perceive work-life balance, and fueled by the upper hand a tight labor market is giving them. As she explains to Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, for employers to succeed they need to be tuned into these new expectations. “During the pandemic, we saw more and more workers really enjoy having control over their time, even if they made the same amount or a little less. People are also looking for purpose.” Don’t miss this deeply informed look at what other trends will shape the labor market in 2023 including ‘talent as a service,’ women re-entering the workforce, VR-fueled innovations in training and other changes that may usher in a more equitable future of work.

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Robert Espinoza, Executive Vice President of Policy at PHI: The Direct Care Crisis Hits Home

Every day, nearly five million direct care workers support older adults and people with disabilities across the United States, and the critical need for this workforce is only increasing as the proportion of people over sixty-five continues to grow dramatically. Given an existing shortage of workers and a high turnover rate in the profession due to low pay, lack of training and poor management, the chances of meeting that need are low. Add in the unaffordability of these services and the difficulty many loved ones have navigating the system and it is a deeply troubling picture, according to our WorkforceRx guest Robert Espinoza, executive vice president for policy at PHI. “All of these barriers compound and create a system where it’s going quickly, I think, from crisis to catastrophe,” he tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. But while the problems are many, so are the potential solutions. Espinoza sees particular promise in several state and local initiatives including wage pass-through laws to boost worker pay, stronger training requirements and tapping into the undocumented immigrant population, which he sees as a major part of the answer. Be sure to listen to the end to learn about an innovative training program in San Francisco on which Futuro Health and PHI are collaborating, and Espinoza’s ideas for leveraging the relationship between family caregivers and direct care workers.

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