Futuro Health announced Thursday that it has added six new education partners to its effort to address the critical shortage of allied health care workers in California.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic started putting additional stress on the medical system, there was a projected need for 500,000 new allied health care workers over the next four years. These are certificated nursing assistants, medical assistants, care coordinators, health IT specialists, to name just a few of the roles that need to be filled.

Futuro Health is a nonprofit launched in January through a $130 million commitment by Kaiser Permanente and the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West.

Its workforce development goal is to create an education system that will lead to the credentialing of thousands of new workers within a year, then scale up the effort through expanding the number of its partners.

“The pandemic is bringing to light the importance of the health workforce,” says Van Ton-Quinlivan, the CEO of Futuro Health. “With our partners, we will work to fortify the care teams at the front line and help redeploy talent sidelined by the pandemic.”

“Our combined efforts can accelerate the transition of individuals into health care roles, as well as equip current workers with skill sets needed for this moment of crisis.”

Listen to Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan on the Work in Progress podcast.

Futuro Health wants to “grow the largest network of credentialed allied health care workers in the nation.” The organization says it believes that “investing in education and skills training and retraining results in better paying jobs for workers, better care for patients, and better workers for businesses to hire.”

Western Governors University was the first educator to party with Futuro Health. The new members joining the nonprofit collaboration are Bay Area Medical Academy, California Community Colleges’ California Virtual Campus-Online Education Initiative, MTI College, Pima Medical Institute, Voxy, and InsideTrack.

InsideTrack is an affiliate of Strada Education Network. “It’s now clearer than ever that a strong health care workforce is vital to our national safety and security,” Strada CEO William D. Hansen says in a press release announcing the expansion. “We are proud that the student success experts at InsideTrack are a part of the ecosystem of support that Futuro Health has assembled.”

Read more about Futuro Health courses and programs at futurohealth.org/allied-health-programs/.

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