Changes Abound for Health Careers Partnership
New name, new location, new priorities
December 2004—The Health Careers Partnership, formerly the Health Careers Institute, will begin 2005 with a new home and a new set of strategies for training and placing its students in a local healthcare market that has changed significantly over the program’s short life.
The program’s new strategic focus will reconcile HCP’s flexible market-driven approach with its long-term commitment to providing employment training for Phillips residents.
Program administrators at Project for Pride in Living say they and staff of the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, which delivers the curriculum and training, have been busy instituting a response to a strategic direction adopted by the Phillips Partnership earlier this year. That document identified key challenges created by HCP’s rapid transformation from an experiment in grassroots career training to the largest hospital-based jobs program of its kind in the nation.
The partnership’s evaluation found that the three hospital partners in HCP – Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics, and the Hennepin County Medical Center – have significantly fewer job openings than in 2000, when the program was formed in response to a glut of unfilled medical and support positions. The partner hospitals now are filling more of those openings with existing staff.
The Health Careers Partnership has also become decentralized. With coursework shifting from Phillips to downtown Minneapolis and the transfer of hospital human resource departments out of Phillips, the “one-stop” opportunity for prospective enrollees to live, study and work in the same neighborhood has diminished.
Steve Cramer, director of Project for Pride in Living, said that HCP will increasingly serve the niche function of promoting diversity within the healthcare profession. This will involve intensifying existing outreach to minorities, immigrants and residents of the Minneapolis Empowerment zone.
“HCP has always provided a unique chance for disadvantaged clients to enter the medical profession through sponsorship. This effort will likely grow as a percentage of the program’s activity, as it’s the core service whose need has not diminished with market trends.”
He added that this emphasis complements the “soft-skills” coursework of PPL’s Train to Work program, which has prepared hundreds of unskilled workers for entry-level jobs.
Strategies for repositioning HCP currently being pursued include more aggressive tracking of projected job openings at partner hospitals to focus job-placement efforts and curriculum offerings; communicating more intensively with healthcare providers and program staff; continuing the expansion of job placement efforts among non-hospital employers; and adopting a more responsive governance structure.
The Phillips Partnership and HCP agree that by drawing on the program’s historic strengths – long-term commitment to career-laddering and the Phillips neighborhood, responsiveness to market needs, and efficient collaboration among its partners – they can produce continued success over the long term.