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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Paula Nickelson, Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The Long and Short Game of Addressing Workforce Shortages

State departments of health play a huge role in America’s healthcare system, with responsibility for public health, licensure, public policy, and much more, so the workforce challenges they face have broad implications. “It will probably be twenty years before we really begin to bend the curve because many of the workforce shortages we encounter require very long-term strategies to change,” says Paula Nickelson, Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Expanding slots for physician residencies and training opportunities for Certified Nursing Assistants are just two of the steps being pursued. Student loan reform, synching up higher ed with the needs of employers and better data management are also on her list but, as she tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, Nickelson thinks these types of changes will not improve healthcare as much as a major shift toward prevention would. “We will never change our health indicators in a positive way, nor will we get out of the escalating spiral of acute care costs and long-term care costs, until we invest in public health and prevention.” This episode of WorkforceRx promises an insightful state-level perspective on workforce and health system challenges confronting the entire nation.

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