CareerSTAT is an initiative to document and endorse the business case for investments in frontline hospital workers and to establish an employer-led advocacy council to promote investments that yield strong skill development and career outcomes for low-wage, frontline hospital workers.
As the nation’s population ages and grows more diverse, and as demand for health care increases, the United States needs stronger systems for developing both its human resources and innovative approaches to learning. A capable and diverse health and health care workforce is essential to providing for the health needs of all Americans.
Yet one group that is critical to patient care and satisfaction is often underrepresented in research and outreach initiatives within the health care system: the nearly 6 million frontline workers in the United States. They include medical assistants, health educators, laboratory technicians, substance counselors, and home health aides—all of whom provide direct patient care and client services.
Frontline workers typically:
- Earn less than $40,000 a year on average;
- Have less than a Bachelor’s-level education;
- Lack credentials that allow independent practice;
- Often receive training that is limited to learning from peers and “trial and error” experience; and
- Often hold jobs that lack clear standards and competencies, with a limited focus by supervisors on employee skill development and advancement.
These factors, combined with workers’ perceptions that their contributions to the workplace are unrecognized, are associated with high turnover and increased costs. They also may compromise the delivery of service and care.
CareerSTAT believes that helping frontline workers advance not only benefits them and their families but also helps their employers retain a talented and driven workforce and ensures that patients receive the highest quality care.
CareerSTAT is led by JFF and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, a funder collaborative forging 30 regional workforce partnerships that benefit employers, their employees, and their communities.
CareerSTAT will promote investments in frontline worker training and education through:
- Creating and expanding a core group of hospital executives that endorse and champion investments in frontline workers and confirm the business case for these investments through the use of business metrics that hospitals are currently using, i.e. return on investment analysis, data analysis of retention and promotion figures, and/or measures to gauge morale and job satisfaction;
- Documenting effective practices and associated measures of success employed in many hospital settings by conducting research and creating a Guidance Tool that describes practices and associated business metrics of leading hospitals to encourage implementation by additional employers; and
- Employer-led dissemination of best practices and the business case for investments in frontline workers, through: 1) the distribution of the Guidance Tool, presentations of the framework to other employers and policymakers, and employer to employer outreach; and 2) national advocacy for policies that will support up-take of investments in low-wage healthcare workers.
Phase One (March-November 2011)
CareerSTAT’s first phase focused on engagement and mobilization of hospital executives and board members who strongly support expanded training and advancement opportunities for lower-wage workers. A core group of these employers collaborated with the National Fund on the development of a “Guidance Tool” that makes the business case for increased private and public sector investment in front-line hospital workforce training. An expanded group of interested employers participated in a “Launching Conference” on November 9 and 10 in Baltimore to review and endorse the Guidance Tool, develop plans for dissemination and advocacy for expanded training and increased investment, and establish an employer-led “Leadership Council” that will drive these dissemination and advocacy efforts.
Phase Two (November 2011-June 2012)
The Leadership Council, with support and staffing by the National Fund and JFF, will execute a multi-layered dissemination and advocacy strategy. This work will not only elevate the visibility of the need for expanded training and advancement opportunities for lower-wage hospital workers; it will also lend credibility and immediacy to this issue through high-profile employer advocacy, at a time when public and private stakeholders are in the thick of debates over how to most effectively implement expanded access to healthcare while reigning-in costs. Additionally, during Phase Two, CareerSTAT will leverage ongoing support to local workforce collaboratives and partnerships provided by the National Fund to refine plans and implementation of new hospital-based workforce partnerships in National Fund communities.
By the end of Phase Two:
- At least 30 hospital employers from across the United States will join and actively participate in the Leadership Council and its advocacy and dissemination efforts;
- A high-profile “Guidance Tool for Productive Investments in Frontline Hospital Workers” will be released, endorsed by the Leadership Council and other influential industry associations, and used in its advocacy efforts; and
- Six additional National Fund workforce collaboratives will expand frontline worker investments within their hospital workforce partnerships.
The National Fund for Workforce Solutions
The Joyce Foundation