Woman smiling taking blood pressure.

The initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a dire need for skilled, highly trained healthcare workers. While there was an increase in healthcare jobs last summer, there has been a significant decrease in recent openings which could be attributable to the fact that the vaccine rollout has begun to reduce cases and hospitalization rates. However, a shortage remains in vital middle skilled and support positions. The current lack of qualified applicants for these jobs is adding continued stress on healthcare facilities and resulting in diminished patient care.

The impacts of the pandemic on the workforce are likely to be evident for some time to come, but utilizing education and job training to upskill displaced, or emerging, workers into healthcare positions can ease the burden the country is currently experiencing. Instead of workers pursuing new, often lengthy educational avenues, a learn-and-earn model can play a vital role in filling in-demand positions, while engaging the economy through gainful apprenticeships and vocational training.

What is the learn-and-earn model?

The learn-and-earn model allows workers to earn or increase their qualifications while simultaneously gaining industry experience and skills-based training through apprenticeships. Traditionally, these training pathways are often equated to trades, but the increased demand for middle-skilled healthcare workers, such as medical assistants and pharmacy technicians, has created a significant need for apprenticeships in the industry. As a result, healthcare is perfectly situated to close their skills -gap by taking advantage of eager learners wanting to gain on-the-job experience while taking the first steps towards a new career. In addition to the advantages of learning in a real-world setting, workers don’t need to choose between education and financial stability; apprenticeships allow them to maintain an income while pursuing career training.

While the benefits of this model are obvious for workers, apprenticeships and career training are advantageous for employers, also. They can immediately engage individuals for in-demand positions without having to wait a year or longer for workers to complete educational or training programs. By making an immediate, short-term investment in workers, you’re actually making a long-term investment in your business by nurturing talent and creating a sense of loyalty in new workers, as well as established employees whose skills you’re looking to further cultivate. In fact, the Department of Labor estimates that 94 percent of apprentices retain their employment after completion, providing your business with credentialed, skilled employees in it for the long haul.

Offer opportunities for workers with industry-proven training

The increased demand for middle-skilled healthcare workers means there are a variety of roles that need development in clinical health care, health administration, and pharmacy settings. It’s important for employers to remember to market these positions, though, as many workers may be unfamiliar with these kinds of career training programs, despite there being an estimated 363 Department of Labor-approved healthcare apprenticeship programs in 2020. In addition to promoting the accessibility and relevance of the training, it’s essential to make sure workers understand that they’ll not only be earning money as they train, but that those wages will increase over time as the program commences and their experience grows. A great way to ensure these points get across is to make sure the language is clear and you have a strong, experienced training partner with which to work.

For years, Penn Foster has provided industry-leading training for companies like Geisinger Health System and Kalaska Memorial Health Center. Our proven healthcare training programs not only lend support to partners through in-house training, implementation, and marketing, they also position learners for success with online mastery-based learning and dedicated assistance through both academic and motivational challenges.

For more information on making the learn-and-earn model work for your healthcare needs, contact a Penn Foster training expert.