CLEVELAND, Ohio — University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth Medical Center, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center have all joined forces for what is known as the Workforce Connect Healthcare Sector Partnership. It creates a healthcare talent pipeline, while also ensuring that job seekers have career pathways with family-sustaining wages.
Susan Krejci is the executive director of the partnership, and will be working with the hospitals, Cuyahoga Community College, and Cleveland State University, as well as community-based job training and readiness programs, to learn the needs and fulfill them.
“This COVID pandemic that we're experiencing right now has really illustrated the importance of healthcare as an industry and the real threat to overwhelming the system and the need to make sure that we have a robust workforce that is ready to go and able to get those jobs. And we want to make sure that those employers have the right people with the right skills at the right time.” Krejci said.
She says even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a supply and demand gap for talent in multiple healthcare-related job categories.
“We’re able to serve the people in Northeast Ohio and Cuyahoga County and make sure that we're providing opportunities for them to excel in health care careers, and also being able to make sure that our hospital systems and healthcare providers here have the right people with the right training for the jobs that are, that are here today,” she said.
Kim Shelnick is vice president of talent acquisition for University Hospitals, and says all of the participating hospitals agree that now is the time to invest in developing a qualified, competitive healthcare workforce to meet the needs of the region.
“Our needs right now are just so broad, from nurses to lab techs, to radiology, environmental service workers, to nutrition workers. I can go on and on, that there is so much opportunity to be able to come together. So, coming together and saying that collaboratively, this is what the talent needs to look like for all of our institutions, so that the colleges aren't confused and the participants that are going into those programs know consistently that these are the qualifications, this is the right training program," Shelnick said.
Deborah Vesy is chair of the Cuyahoga County Workforce Funders Group and says she expects the partnership to be a success in Northeast Ohio.
“It’s not like you're getting people prepared and then desperately trying to find an employer that will hire them. That's the old method — the train and pray. This is an employer-led effort, which we know just generally in workforce is, is the best practice,” Vesy said.
She says many local and national businesses and government entities have made philanthropic investments towards Workforce Connect Healthcare Sector Partnership because they believe it will create a system that provides pathways to a long-lasting careers.