WIP Jill Buban

Employers are offering education benefits to attract and retain workers

A conversation with Dr. Jill Buban, general manager and VP, EdAssist at Bright Horizons

In this episode of Work of Progress, Dr. Jill Buban, general manager and VP of EdAssist by Bright Horizons, joins me to discuss the impact of employer-offered education benefits on closing the labor shortages in health care and other industries.

Industry experts have been sounding the alarm about the staffing shortages in health care for decades, and that shortage has evolved into a crisis following COVID, particularly in nursing and allied health care. New research from EdAssist by Bright Horizon and The Josh Bersin Company says the demand for nurses is going to grow 13% year-over-year between now and 2025.

Dr. Jill Buban says education benefits are the most powerful tool employers have to fill these growing needs.

“About 40% of our client base is from the health care industry, whether it be large hospital systems, health care systems, or medical centers around the country. We’ve been working with them for years, really looking at how their education benefit is becoming a strategic differentiator for them to attract talent and retain talented human beings that fit into their culture and maybe shift them to another job through a reskilling opportunity,” explains Buban.

She says that 38% of their health care client offers a no-cost education benefit and gives this example.

“We recently worked with OhioHealth to create a program that includes this no-cost option, meaning there’s the opportunity for people to go back to school with no out-of-pocket costs. We selected a group of institutions thoughtfully with them. We worked to be inclusive of many community colleges, as well as many local institutions within Ohio.”

EdAssist’s role is to assess the client’s “pain point” and skilling needs for their open jobs and then help establish pathways for the employees to attain those new skills.

“One way in which we’ve done that, we’ve created a suite of career pathways. We’re approaching 10 in the health care industry specifically, and those are in the highest-need, highest-demand areas. And we’ve gone through and vetted national institutions as well as national non-credit based learning. So people in the health care industry or thinking about the health care industry can easily think about what their trajectory could be, what that path could be.”

Buban says, in addition to upskilling current employees for open jobs at a local hospital system, the program raises awareness in the community, thus attracting new potential workers.

“While it could have been primarily to provide education internally to OhioHealth, it’s also like a buzz in these local communities that OhioHealth is here. They have these various openings.”

Buban says more than a third of EdAssist’s 250 clients – in industries such as health care, aerospace, defense, and financial services – added this type of no-cost education benefit this year.

“I think that so many of the careers continue to be recession-proof. I do think that we’re going to continue to see growth and participation of these programs, growth in the use of them as a differentiator to attract, definitely for health care and some of the other sectors, there’s just still such a large hiring need.”

You can learn more about the education benefits and their ability to help close the labor shortage in key industries in today’s podcast. Listen here, or download wherever you get your podcasts.

Episode 254: Dr. Jill Buban, General Manager and VP, EdAssist by Bright Horizons
Host & Executive Producer: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Executive Producers: Joan Lynch and Melissa Panzer
Theme Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4.0
Download the transcript for this podcast here.
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