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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