Registered apprenticeships in the field of healthcare are proving a highly effective workforce strategy for building skills and earnings in entry and middle-level jobs while also increasing productivity and helping align employer demands with the supply of workers for this critical industry.

"There is increasing recognition that apprenticeship training is a highly effective workforce strategy for building skills and earnings in entry- and middle-level jobs, for increasing productivity and for aligning employer demands with the supply of workers for this critical industry. The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Apprenticeship (OA) has focused on the healthcare industry to address both chronic workforce shortages and increasing skill demands for key occupations within the allied health and long-term care industries. Apprenticeship programs have been developed in healthcare for 40 occupations. These programs offer competency-based and time-based models, portable credentials and wage increases, responding to the needs for a high-skilled healthcare workforce. Registered Apprenticeship can be a critical part of the workforce strategy related to healthcare reform as it is seen as a way to train long-term care workers and address some of the workforce issues including recruitment and retention, training a quality workforce and improving quality of patient care" (p.1). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full Publication Title: Using Registered Apprenticeship to Build and Fill Healthcare Career Paths: A Response to Critical Healthcare Workforce Needs and Healthcare Reform

Major Findings & Recommendations

"The model is currently being evaluated by a joint U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS)- U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) study, but anecdotal evidence from providers shows that Registered Apprenticeship helps to address several key issues in healthcare: - Recruitment and retention: Job seekers who have a clear understanding of position requirements and have an opportunity for advancement along a career lattice are more likely to remain in their jobs longer. The "earn while you learn" aspect of the apprenticeship program helps to retain workers as they become loyal to an organization that invests in them and helps advance their careers. Soft skills instruction such as problem-solving, communications and stress management prepares new hires for workplace challenges. And finally, the mentoring component supports new hires as they acclimate to the demands of the job. Employers agree that the model helps create a pipeline of workers that start at the entry-level and advance to higher positions. - Cost-effective training method: Staff replacement and recruitment are among the highest costs to healthcare providers. By increasing retention, recruitment costs decrease. Employers indicate that they prefer training their own employees to recruiting new hires. - Improved quality of patient care: Healthcare professionals trained through Registered Apprenticeship gain knowledge, hands-on experience and confidence, which in turn improve the quality of patient care, according to employer interviews. Additionally, most apprentices go through programs that exceed state and federal requirements which have made them better at their profession. - Increased diversity: The model is helping to increase diversity, according to healthcare providers, not only for the entry-level occupations but also as a pipeline and career ladder to higher level jobs. A goal of many of the providers is to create a workforce that approximates the composition of the patients they serve" (p. 2-3). (Abstractor: Author)