Anson Green, Senior Manager of Digital and Automation Upskilling at Tyson Foods: AI-Powered Tools Are Transforming Worker Training

“I think training is gonna be so different looking in the next few years than what we’re used to,” says Anson Green who brings a very seasoned eye to the workforce training landscape. After decades working in adult education, Green is now helping Tyson Foods train an incredibly diverse global workforce and, in the U.S. 60% are immigrants with very limited digital and language skills. As he explains to Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, succeeding at this challenge starts with a belief in their ability to learn. “They’re very, very mobile in terms of their models of how to get things done, and they figure things out.” The big change he sees coming is due to AI-powered training programs that allow him to customize content by reading level, language and other factors with a few clicks instead of many hours of effort. Another key factor is that technology is getting easier to use. “We’ve got this really sweet spot where robots that five years ago would have taken an associate’s degree to be able to run, I could teach you how to run in an afternoon.” This is a great chance to learn about leading edge training programs at one of the world’s largest food companies and to find out about a hidden workforce training jewel in nearly every US community.

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Rachel Wick, Blue Shield of California Foundation: Respecting the Work That Makes All Other Work Possible

“I’m able to be here with you today because my son is at a wonderful childcare provider home,” says WorkforceRx guest, Rachel Wick, to illustrate how critical direct care workers are to our lives and economy. Wick, the senior program officer for Blue Shield of California Foundation, describes childcare and direct care provided in the home for the elderly and disabled as ‘the work that makes all other work possible.’ As she tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, it’s time our society valued it as such and invested in the sector the way we invest in public schools and healthcare. Wick is hoping the foundation’s new report, Forging a Sustainable Future for California’s Direct Care Workforce, will help provide a shared understanding of these workers and their challenges among all relevant stakeholders to help advance needed policy changes. Raising up this worker population and increasing economic security for other low-income communities is part of the foundation’s overall mission to remove barriers to health and wellbeing, especially among people of color, in order to build lasting and equitable solutions that will make California the healthiest state. “As we listen to families across California, what they tell us is that health and wellbeing and stability is just not possible when you are caught in a relentless daily struggle for survival.” Tune in to learn more about the role economic security plays in health, and how unionization and cooperative business models may be part of the answer to elevating a critically important workforce.

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Renee DeSilva, CEO of The Health Management Academy:  How Health System Leaders Are Tackling Workforce Challenges

If you would love to know what’s on the minds of the leaders of the nation’s largest health systems as they tackle workforce challenges and a host of other issues, but don’t happen to have the time to talk to all 150 of them, then this episode of WorkforceRx is for you. The well-placed source supplying this intelligence is Renee DeSilva, CEO of The Health Management Academy which provides advice, research, knowledge sharing, and leadership development for hospitals and other healthcare companies. Although labor costs and labor shortages continue to vex healthcare leaders, DeSilva is encouraged by the energy and innovation she’s seeing around solutions such as upskilling current employees, leaning into skills-based hiring, and creating talent pipelines with local educators. “I’m seeing a lot of creativity and partnership energy around solving the workforce challenge structurally, and then also just making the folks that we do have more productive and creating more of a thriving environment around them,” she tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. Leaders are also taking a fresh look at leveraging the knowledge and talents of nurse managers and giving them greater agency to implement solutions. As a student of leadership and a leader herself, DeSilva appreciates the front row seat she has watching members of the C-suite navigate a dizzying array problems. “It’s really interesting to see how each of them leans into their unique gifts. I think that’s where everyone has their power alley.” You’ll leave this conversation with a better sense of the paths being taken to the future of care and the tactics leaders are using to get there.

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Wendi Safstrom, President of the SHRM Foundation: HR as a Driver of Social Change

Evolving employee expectations for working conditions and years of a tight labor market have created steady challenges for human resources professionals. For a look at how those roles are evolving in response, and, to learn about current best practices, we turn today to Wendi Safstrom, president of the SHRM Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the world’s largest HR professional society. “We’re problem-solving based on research that we do in the field with our HR pros with the goal to help HR get better and help them lead positive social change in the workplace.” As you’ll learn on this episode of WorkforceRx hosted by Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, that change includes ensuring health equity at work, providing support for mental health needs and adopting a “skills-first” approach to hiring, which can provide opportunity to populations who have often been shut out of the hiring process. “HR professionals have an obligation to contribute to bettering the lives of others, and what better way to do that than by employing an individual and demonstrating a culture that’s welcoming for everyone?” In this informative conversation, Wendi also addresses the use of AI in hiring, the need for HR staff to attend to their own mental health, and the free resources SHRM makes available to employers of all sizes.

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

EP81 WorkforceRx Podcast Curtis Johnson

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

EP80 WorkforceRx Podcast David Jarrard

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

EP79 WorkforceRx Podcast Sheila Ireland

“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

EP78 WorkforceRx Podcast Karilyn Van Oosten

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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