The Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education announced Friday its Health Workforce Collaborative, a new partnership with colleges and universities, state agencies, the health care industry and the system. K-12 education to address the critical healthcare workforce shortage in Kentucky.

The healthcare workforce crisis, exacerbated by COVID-19, has been making headlines in Kentucky and across the country. In December, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order declaring the state’s nursing shortage an emergency.

“My administration is focused on improving the health and well-being of Kentuckians, which includes making sure they have access to health care and the best medical care possible,” Beshear said. “Now is the time to innovate in the way we recruit and retain healthcare workers, and that’s going to require our education and healthcare systems working together to break down some of the barriers that keep people from entering the workforce. occupation.”

Pictured L-R: Ken Marshall, University of Louisville Chief Health Officer, President of the Senate Robert Stivers, Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman, President of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Paul Czarapata, CPE President, Aaron Thompson, University of Kentucky Provost, Robert DiPaola, CPE Workforce and Economic Development Senior Fellow Leslie M. Sizemore, CPE Associate Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development Rick W Smith Sr. (Photo form CPE)

Speakers at the press conference included CPE President Aaron Thompson, Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman, Senate Speaker Robert Stivers, CPE Associate Vice President of Labor and Economic Development Rick W. Smith Sr., Kentucky Community and Technical College System Chairman Paul Czarapata, University of Kentucky Provost Robert DiPaola, University of Louisville Health Chief Operating Officer Ken Marshall, and CPE Workforce and Economic Development Senior Fellow Leslie M. Sizemore. They shared views from state government, higher education and the healthcare industry on how to address the labor shortage.

Nationally, there is a shortage of more than one million health and social care workers due to retirements, declining labor force participation, low birth rates and reductions in immigration. In Kentucky, the problem is compounded by a skills deficit and a lower-than-state average education rate.

The inaugural meeting of the CPE collaboration took place on June 21st. The group will meet every two months over the next year to establish a long-term plan and rapid response strategies to strengthen the health workforce pipeline.

“This is an urgent issue that affects the ability of Kentucky residents to get the care they need to live full, healthy lives,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson. “The collaboration will bring all stakeholders to the table so that we can work in tandem to strengthen the education and training pipeline for future nurses, allied health professionals, primary care and other healthcare providers.

The collaboration, supported by a $10 million General Assembly appropriation, will provide grants to public universities and community and technical colleges in Kentucky to expand programs that train health care providers in high-demand areas. and lead to professional certification or licensing. The CPE will begin reviewing grant applications on July 15.

“This collaboration is the first time health care providers and educators have come together to address the workforce shortage in a structured way,” Kentucky Senate Speaker Robert Stivers said. “The Legislative Assembly is committed to supporting experts from the private and public sectors in this important work.

Colleges and universities face significant challenges in filling gaps in the healthcare talent pool, including a shortage of faculty, limited access to clinical sites for students, lack of medical equipment and supplies. modern training and the need for greater academic and emotional support for students in these highly competitive programs.

Strategies the collaboration will consider include:

• Develop more flexible programming, such as virtual and accelerated options

• Develop apprenticeships, internships and other workplace learning opportunities

• Create professional development opportunities for teachers to learn new teaching technologies

• Purchase of simulators and other healthcare training equipment

• Increase counselling, tutoring and student support services to help retain students in these demanding programs.

The collaboration also aims to engage students early with the help of K-12 school systems to create a clear pathway into healthcare professions through mentorship and workplace learning opportunities.

The CPE has brought in Leslie Sizemore to lead this initiative as part of the agency’s Workforce and Economic Development division. Sizemore has 30 years of experience in healthcare as a frontline provider and entrepreneur. She owns TheraCare, Inc., which provides physical therapy and occupational therapy services to education and health organizations in Southeast Kentucky. She has also served as Legislative President of the Kentucky Occupational Therapy Association for the past 10 years.

“I am thrilled to lead this first-of-its-kind effort to address a serious challenge facing our state,” Sizemore said. “By bringing educators and healthcare providers together, we can ensure that the way we train students is efficient and aligned with the needs of hospitals and other healthcare facilities. This work will help create a strong, well-trained healthcare workforce in our state, which is essential for creating healthy communities and a robust economy.

Members of the Health Workforce Collaborative Advisory Group

• Paul Czarapata, President, Kentucky Community and Technical College System
• Bob Jackson, President, Murray State University
• Tania Basta, Dean of the College of Health and Human Services, Western Kentucky University
• Daniel Czech, Dean of the College of Health Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University
• Joy Coles, Assistant Professor, Kentucky State University School of Nursing
• Jay Morgan, President, Morehead State University
Valerie HardcastleVice President for Health Innovation, Northern Kentucky University
• Robert DiPaola, Provost, University of Kentucky
• Lori Stewart Gonzalez, Acting President, University of Louisville
• Anthony “Tony” Houston, Executive Director, Catholic Health Initiatives/St. Joseph Health
Garren ColvinPresident and CEO, St. Elizabeth Healthcare
• Hollie Harris Phillips, President and CEO, Appalachian Regional Healthcare
• Jody Prather, MD/Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, Baptist Health
• Derrick Ramsey, citizen member
• Jackie Richardson, Chief of Staff, Office of the CHFS Secretary
• Aaron Thompson, Chair, Council on Post-Secondary Education
• Mary Pat Regan, Assistant Secretary, Education and Labor Cabinet
• Jason Glass, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Education Staff
• Leslie Sizemore, Senior Researcher, Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education
• Rick Smith, Associate Vice President, Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education

For more information, watch the recording of the conference on the Council’s YouTube page.

Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education


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