Kaiser Permanente and the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) have announced the launch of a $130 million nonprofit focused on addressing the growing demand for healthcare workers in California.
Established as part of a labor agreement reached in October between the union and Kaiser Permanente, Futuro Health will work to improve the health and wellness of California communities by investing in health education and skills training and retraining for healthcare workers. The effort will be launched in the country's most populous state with the goal of graduating ten thousand newly licensed and credentialed vocational nurses, medical coders, health information technicians, radiologic technicians, and laboratory workers over the next four years; future plans include scaling the model to other states.
Participants in the organization's programs will also receive support in the form of career exploration and coaching, financing for their education, and targeted education-to-work pathways leading to a credential or licensure. To that end, the organization will partner with Western Governors University to provide students with an affordable competency-based education pathway for attaining credentials as a medical coder, medical assistant, or care coordinator. In addition, SEIU-UHW's nearly one hundred thousand members will collaborate with the organization and Kaiser Permanente to scout, recruit, and coach students.
"Kaiser Permanente recognizes California's healthcare industry is facing a projected workforce shortage of half a million people over the next few years," said Kaiser Permanente chair and CEO Greg Adams. "By investing in health education, skills training, and retraining programs with Futuro Health, Kaiser Permanente, in collaboration with SEIU-UHW, is leading efforts to reverse the shortage trend."
"Futuro Health represents a new model for tackling the workforce shortage and training workers especially when they no longer stay with one employer for long," said SEIU-UHW president Dave Regan. "Ensuring that all people have access to high-quality, affordable health care and a living wage is a priority of SEIU-UHW."
(Photo credit: Kaiser Permanente)