Detroit Regional Chamber > Chamber > Health Sciences Creating Health Career Pathways With Detroit

Health Sciences Creating Health Career Pathways With Detroit

January 8, 2024

MSU Health Sciences
Jan. 2, 2024

In a series of efforts led by the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Michigan State University Office of Health Sciences is working with other regional leaders in higher education, healthcare industry, nonprofit and workforce development organizations, and state government to better understand the projected workforce shortages and distribution inequities for the next 10 years and envision a range of potential solutions.

As part of the Strategic Plan the Sustainable Health Steering Committee is working to advance objective 4 of the Sustainable Health pillar in, “…devising innovative educational pathways to careers in health…”

The Detroit Regional Healthcare Talent Collaborative is meeting regularly to first understand the healthcare talent crisis better in Detroit and Southeast Michigan. The Michigan Health Council, a nonprofit healthcare workforce agency, has conducted extensive research into Michigan’s healthcare workforce and identified current and future issues in this labor market. In a presentation to the workgroup, they shared that nearly all healthcare occupations have projected shortages in Michigan. The few that do not project shortages, likely have distribution issues with significant gaps in rural serving communities. Additionally, they reported that positions requiring limited education beyond the high school diploma will struggle for stability in part due to low wages and competition from other sectors. Mental health occupations also face significant shortages as well as competitive wage challenges that project likely instability for the next 10 years.

The next step for the workgroup is to identify proposed interventions locally and across the country as models for success. Henry Ford Health in partnership with the Employment Equity Learning and Action Collaborative (EELAC) in Detroit has developed a pilot program to help Henry Ford Health Detroit employees in lower-wage, entry-level positions identify career advancement and greater economic opportunities through career pathway clarification and participation support. The pilot is focusing on customization for programs that introduce apprenticeships for nursing assistant and pharmacy technology jobs, the reduction of barriers to program completion, and streamlining employment opportunities.

The Cincinnati Health Collaborative, with the support of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati Partners for a Competitive Workforce, is advancing The Health Collaborative Workforce Innovation project with the partnerships of eight to 10 hospital systems, 11 colleges and universities, and five training partners to target the development of 31 essential health care occupations. The collective uses four key strategies of identifying and charting clear educational pathways, expanding career exploration, convening all partners to continue addressing workforce concerns, and identifying essential funding mechanisms to support workforce innovation. This collaboration with the United Way is another example of community partnerships advancing career access and development.

Through these examples of regional healthcare collaborations, multiple promising practices have emerged. As communities start to work together to address these healthcare workforce development challenges, they also begin to drive more positive health outcomes for their communities. The Detroit Regional Healthcare Talent Collaboration has convened twice this fall and developed a guiding question to drive the work: “How can we work together to create an inclusive healthcare workforce through reducing barriers, awareness and exposure, and pathways to good careers for current and returning students through post-secondary, job seekers, and incumbent workers, with a focus on vulnerable and underrepresented populations in Southeast Michigan?” Christi Taylor, Senior Director for Talent Initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber, and the project leader is encouraged by the engagement and collaboration she has seen so far. “The purpose of this group is to address complex talent challenges that no one institution or sector can solve on its own. Creating stronger pathways into high-demand careers will benefit students, workers, employers, and the Detroit Region as a whole. It’s hard work but tackling this collaboratively is the surest way to make an impact.”

Michigan State University, through our partnership with Henry Ford Health, ongoing Detroit Center Programs including an Urban Education cohort, our seven active and six in-progress early assurance admissions programs from the Colleges of Nursing, Human Medicine, and Osteopathic Medicine, and engagement in collaborative projects with the Detroit Regional Chamber are all prime examples of how we are developing and advancing innovative educational pathways to careers in healthcare in Southeast Michigan and in turn for our students and alumni.