Why Community Colleges Can Be a Powerful Resource to Strengthen the Clinical Workforce Pipeline

Why Community Colleges Can Be a Powerful Resource to Strengthen the Clinical Workforce Pipeline. A diverse group of clinicians in a classroom raptly pay attention to a presentation.

As hospitals and health systems continue to renew and strengthen the clinical workforce pipeline, they may want to take a closer look at how community colleges can help in this area. These institutions play an instrumental role in training local health care workers and providing opportunities to strengthen partnerships to meet workforce needs.

A recent study from the Community College Research Center (CCRC) highlights the affordable and accessible educational opportunities these institutions offer. For example, community colleges hold the largest share of program offerings in four instructional program groups: mental/social health (76%); allied health [diagnostic, intervention and treatment] (68%); clinical/medical laboratory science (69%); and practical nursing (58%).

The report used information from the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System 2019-2020 survey. Drawing on the analysis, CCRC created an interactive visualization tool to help practitioners, health care organizations and policymakers obtain more detailed information about health care training among community colleges in their areas.

A health program graduates dashboard enables users to explore instructional program graduate counts and distribution by institution type, race/gender, ethnicity and award level. Other dashboards allow users to compare the percentage of schools in each postsecondary sector offering instructional programming in health care fields, the community college market share of schools, programs and graduates, and the instructional programs in which community college graduates earn credentials.

Armed with these data, hospital and health system leaders can strengthen existing academic-practice partnerships or build new programs to address future workforce needs.

Learn More

For additional resources to support current and future workforce needs, the AHA, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the League for Innovation in the Community College, developed Essentials for Teaching Infection Control, a free three-video series and instructor’s manual to help teach or enhance existing infection control curricula.

NOTE: These resources, including the study and visualization tool, were developed under Project Firstline. Project Firstline is a national training collaborative led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the Health Research & Educational Trust, an AHA 501(c)(3) nonprofit subsidiary. It is supported through Cooperative Agreement CDC-RFA-CK20-2003. The CDC is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this publication do not necessarily represent the policies of the CDC or HHS and should not be considered an endorsement by the Federal Government.

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