The April 16, 2018 WHA Council on Workforce Development meeting covered a broad array of topics, including new WHA-spearheaded training grants, legislative accomplishments and priorities related to workforce, Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeships in health care, and data for workforce planning.
Council members appreciated gaining knowledge about available resources to recruit and retain health care professionals. John Keckhaver from Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development noted, “Wisconsin is one of only a few states that has kept their Youth Apprenticeship program, and our state program is growing in number of youth and employers participating.” Keckhaver provided resources hospitals and health systems can use to start youth apprenticeships, and members were pleased to hear that regional coordinators are ready, willing and able to provide support to local employers.
Some members of the Council were among the more than 20 organizations that submitted letters of intent to apply for Wisconsin Department of Health Services administered training grants for advanced practice clinicians. Ann Zenk, WHA vice president, workforce and clinical practice, noted “Success builds on success, and the fact that WHA was able to accomplish both increased funding for the grow our own GME program, and create a new grant program to increase clinical training opportunities for advanced practice clinicians and in-demand allied health professionals, is a credit to the successful public-private partnerships created by such programs.” Council members shared plans to apply for allied health professional training grants to expand, enhance or create new training options for health care team roles with high vacancy rates, such as nursing assistants and surgical technicians.
In their discussion of data needed and utilized for workforce planning, Council members recognized WHA’s annual workforce report as “a resource to reference over and over in workforce planning,” and stressed the importance of “keeping an eye on workforce data and proactive planning to prevent critical workforce shortages.” A Council member noted, and the Council agreed, “We are good at finding and having the data, but need help on the projections and analytics.” The Council recognized the work done by WHA and the WHA Information Center, and the potential to build on the available data and analytics for workforce planning. Zenk notes “High-quality high-value health care relies on a high-quality, adequately supplied workforce, and WHA continues our commitment to provide workforce information relevant to WHA, members and policymakers for proactive workforce decision-making.”