Workforce Innovation Submitted By:
Workforce Development, Inc.

Pre-Employment Healthcare Academy

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Community Challenge/Problem

In southeast Minnesota, the healthcare field is an in-demand sector that provides many entry level job opportunities. In order to better prepare the workforce to fill these jobs, and to meet the needs of employers for reduced turnover and skilled workers, Workforce Development, Inc. and the Workforce Centers partnered with local education providers to create the Pre-Employment Healthcare Academy, the goals of which are to:

~ Increase opportunities for low-income and disadvantaged populations to enter healthcare careers
~ Integrate classes into industry specific work sites to ensure the Healthcare Academies are driven by current trends and needs, and that participants are mentored and supported
~ Work with businesses to fill job vacancies and increase retention rates
~ Provide a more diverse workforce

Board Solution/Innovation

During the Pre-Employment Healthcare Academy, students receive career information along with the job-specific skills training and education. By developing a better understanding of the work requirements of entry-level healthcare employment, students better understand what to expect and are more likely to remain in their jobs. In addition, the project provides durable skills for job advancement and wage increases that provide for living wage opportunities.

The Pre-Employment Academies are conducted in partnerships with local WorkForce Centers (WFC) and WDI Offices. When appropriate space is not available at the WFC, the academies are held on-site at partnering healthcare facilities or participating community colleges.

Outcomes & Results

The Healthcare Academy has served hundreds of people by assisting them to either go into health-related careers or to understand they are better suited to work in other industries. The Return on Investment on HCA's is 624% meaning for every dollar it costs for the Academy classes, $6.24 is returned to the economy in additional taxes paid and welfare benefits saved. Employers give interview preference to students from Academy classes because they know they are prepared for the job and have better chances for retention.

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