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The Growing Need for Healthcare Workers

January 25, 2013

Articles in the Washington Business Journal and Washington Post last Friday highlighted a local workforce challenge the Community Foundation has been working to address for over five years: the growing need for healthcare workers in our region:

“The strength in health-care hiring was critical in propelling the region’s overall economic growth and offsetting the pullback by the government and its contractors. In fact, the sector added more jobs than any other in the Washington area, helping to bring the region’s unemployment rate down from 5.5 percent to 5.3 percent…

The education and health services sector has been growing steadily in the Washington region since 2004 and now employs about the same number of people here as the federal government. It employs more than half as many people as the professional services industry.

The growth shows little sign of slowing. The sector is forecast to increase more than 10 percent by 2017, according to a January projection made by economist Stephen S. Fuller of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University.

The number might be higher if not for a dearth of skilled workers.”

Anticipating that health care reform, aging baby-boomers, and continued population growth would drive significant growth in the health care industry, the Community Foundation’s Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative launched a health careers working group in 2008 and has since invested over $700,000 in a variety of healthcare workforce initiatives with the goals of:

  • Addressing the critical skill needs of regional healthcare employers;
  • Helping workers launch and advance careers in healthcare by enhancing their skills and credentials; and
  • Improving the overall quality of care available to residents of our region by ensuring that we enjoy a highly-skilled healthcare workforce.

These investments are paying off. Through our assistance, 155 current and aspiring healthcare workers have enrolled in post-secondary education and training programs, 116 have earned a raise, and another 116 unemployed workers have secured work. New curriculum has been developed and piloted to ensure that Community Health Workers and frontline public health clinic staff receive high-quality, standardized training.  And our funds have helped to leverage more than $5 million in federal resources and $350,000 in workforce investments by healthcare employers.

The Community Foundation’s workforce efforts are made possible through the generous contributions of Community Foundation donors and our corporate and foundation partners: the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Consumer Health Foundation, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, the Moriah Fund, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Northern Virginia Health Foundation, Patricia Weiss Fagen, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, United Way of the National Capital Area, and the Washington Area Women’s Foundation.

Help us continue to build on this record of success. Consider making a gift to The Community Foundation’s Community Leadership Fund today.

For additional information about our workforce efforts, please contact Sarah Oldmixon, Director of Workforce Initiatives, at soldmixon@cfncr.org or 202-973-2519 

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