A White House Summit on Apprenticeships recently shone a spotlight on an apprenticeship model to promote greater access to healthcare careers. Laura Beeth, Fairview’s System Director of Talent Acquisition and chair of the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership's workforce development work group, was one of 100 leaders at the national summit, where she spoke to the gathering immediately after Vice President Joseph Biden. U.S. Senator Al Franken was a keynote speaker at the event, along with Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.
|Laura Beeth, Fairview's System Director of Talent Acquisition|
There, Beeth learned that Fairview will receive a Department of Labor apprenticeship grant of $750,000 to support 150 nurses and other healthcare workers advance on career ladders. The project supports two-year degree nurses in obtaining four-year degrees and better wages, which the Partnership believes is a critical element to its goal of hiring more Central Corridor residents. The funding for Fairview is part of a $5 million federal grant to the Minnesota Department of Economic and Employee Development (DEED) and the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) to expand registered apprenticeships in high-growth jobs, including health care.
"It is great news to receive such strong support from the White House Summit," reflected Beeth. "Now I hope that this grant can inspire additional funding to adapt and expand this model and serve a larger number of Central Corridor residents seeking health care careers."
CCAP Support for Apprenticeships Model
Recognizing that there are pressures to have at least eighty percent (80%) or more of hospital nursing jobs filled with four-year degreed nurses by 2020, the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership (CCAP) adopted a resolution this past May to support a pilot initiative to integrate education and career planning for two-year degree nurses. This initiative would allow nurses to work for several years in long-term care, while they complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and training for employment opportunities in acute care. While significant progress is being made to promote more diversity in four-year BSN programs, two-year degree nursing graduates have traditionally been more ethnically and culturally diverse.
“This is fantastic news for the students we serve who are pursuing health care careers,” noted Avelino Mills-Novoa, President of Minneapolis Community & Technical College. “It is gratifying to see a White House Summit bringing attention and traction to an apprenticeship model that is very relevant to our students.”
Time for Creative Partnerships
CCAP partner, MCTC, has a nursing education partnership with Augsburg College, where MCTC nursing students are provisionally admitted to Augsburg’s BSN program. Augsburg’s President and CCAP Chair Paul Pribbenow emphasizes the importance of such strategic alliances in order to promote educational and economic opportunity for students. “We are living in a time where creative and nimble partnerships are increasingly important,” Pribbenow observed. “And you can see from the White House Summit that our Anchor Partnership is on the right track with this model.”
Without thoughtful intervention, a more diverse nursing workforce in acute care is less likely, and the population of more diverse two-year degree nurses is more likely to stay employed in long-term care, where wages are lower and advancement opportunities are less. The caregiver turnover rate and vacancy rate for long-term care facilities in the Twin Cities are significant; and while many four-year RNs may start their careers in long-term care, most have moved to acute care settings within a relatively short time.
Next Steps and National Significance
The Partnership's work group is currently solidifying participation among hospitals, long term care facilities, and nursing educators to build the apprenticeship model and prepare funding applications. The current plan calls for establishing up to 200 additional nursing apprenticeships, which when added to Fairview’s 150 would create a pilot of national significance.
For more on the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership, visit their website here.