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The Unique Role of an “Education Whisperer” in Workforce Development

By: Van Ton-Quinlivan

In the U.S., over 80% of healthcare facilities have reported a shortage of allied healthcare workers. This persistent workforce deficit necessitates collaboration between employers and higher education to find a solution. Yet, interpreting the languages between these two worlds can be a challenge. That’s where the need for an “education whisperer” comes in. Our team at Futuro Health fills this crucial role.

Crafting a “win-win” matters a lot in workforce development. Ask incoming California Community Colleges Chancellor Dr. Sonya Christian

The Unique Role of an “Education Whisperer” in Workforce Development

Dr. Christian, in her prior role overseeing a district of three rural California community colleges, she sought to increase participation of diverse communities in healthcare careers. Like the rest of America, her colleges were losing enrollment. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, higher education nationwide suffered from 7.6% less students enrolling in 4-year colleges and 16.2% fewer students in community colleges compared to pre-pandemic levels. Enrollment is the lifeblood of colleges.  Creating costly new programs when there is enrollment uncertainty brings only risk.

Because Dr. Christian and I worked together during my time as Executive Vice Chancellor of California Community Colleges, we talked about engaging Futuro Health’s expertise to de-risk enrollment uncertainty for a community college in her district, Cerro Coso College, to launch a new hybrid Medical Assistant Program for rural communities. Futuro Health took on the role of education whisperer by encouraging Cerro Coso College to adopt best practices, such as decoupling from the academic calendar, to accommodate more adult learners.  Together, our organizations worked through new data exchange and enrollment protocols to enable us to support working adults in their educational journey more seamlessly. The first cohort launched and was quickly filled. In turn, Futuro Health stepped in to engage with employers who provided qualified applicants for the hybrid Medical Assistant Program. 

The Unique Role of an “Education Whisperer” in Workforce Development
Futuro Health Scholar Support Team Leaders Sam Collazo and Jin Kim joined John Cordova, Futuro Health’s Director of Workforce Development & Clinical Partnerships, during a recent visit with Lucy Erdene AUMT General Manager. AUMT is the latest education provider to partner with Futuro Health, providing phlebotomy and other training programs.

Just imagine asking an employer to do all the above, or educators to tackle these challenges alone.  It’s a lot. And yet, Futuro Health has whispered and cultivated an entire ecosystem of education partners, all of whom provide quality, adult-friendly career education programs.  In concert, we invite our network of employers to lean-in and fund scholarships, provide externships and hire our program graduates. Each year, thousands of new enrollees find their way into healthcare credentials and new careers thanks to this unique ecosystem built and monitored by Futuro Health.

Perhaps “win-win” should really be stated “win-win-win” because the third stakeholder – the learner – must also benefit from the collaboration, not just employers and educators.

Futuro Health works with educators and employers to resolve their disconnects.  Every year since our inception, thousands of Futuro Health Scholars, 90% ethnically- and 52% linguistically diverse, pursue education journeys and move into important roles in care.

Consider Alicia’s story. From an early age she knew she wanted to join the medical field. Alicia started pre-med classes at UC Davis but soon learned she was pregnant. Even though she was unable to finish her studies, the financial debt she acquired in the process lived on. To provide for her children and family, Alicia worked jobs that paid the bills, but they did not fuel her passion. Alicia then started Futuro Health’s debt-free Medical Assistant program and got a second chance to do what she enjoys the most, helping people. After completing the program, she secured her dream job with Kaiser Permanente, earning a steady paycheck, with job security that pays her peace of mind. Futuro Health provided Alicia with the tuition-free scholarship, coaching support, and simplified education journey to pursue the education she needed to move into healthcare.

Alicia’s journey demonstrates the transformative power when educators and employers work in lockstep, and how Futuro Health serving as an education whisperer can bring together the necessary resources for individuals to achieve their career goals.

Futuro Health is built for scale and welcomes employers, educators, and learners to contact us via

Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan is a nationally recognized expert in workforce development. Her distinguished career spans the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. She is a White House Champion of Change and California Steward Leader, and formerly served as Executive Vice Chancellor of the California Community Colleges.



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