San Diego’s healthcare workforce accounts for 13 percent of all jobs within the local economy. And these more than 186,000 jobs touch the lives of every San Diegan, every day. This has never been more evident than over the last 18 months.
When the pandemic started, I remember hearing my neighbors out in the streets cheering nightly for our healthcare workers. San Diegans jumped into motion to drop off food and other gifts for personnel putting their lives on the line to treat patients across the region’s hospitals. Yet over the last several months, finding anyone acknowledging the contributions and commitments of our healthcare workforce has been much harder to come by. The conversations in the streets outside my home and on my social media feeds have moved on to other issues and topics. Yet the stresses, challenges, frustrations, and weight that we have placed on the shoulders of our healthcare workforce have only grown.
For decades, higher education, workforce development, and healthcare systems have worked together to address workforce shortages in this industry and others. New programs have been developed and creative ideas and solutions have (just barely) helped ensure that healthcare systems keep pace with the increasing demand and changing needs. These partnerships, programs, ideas, and solutions will be needed more than ever as we work to deal with increasing staffing shortages, as well as the exhaustion, fatigue, and strains that the circumstances of the pandemic have caused.
Advancing San Diego to host healthcare round
In the weeks ahead, our team at EDC is kicking off Advancing San Diego’s healthcare cohort. Now in its fifth round, Advancing San Diego is focused on addressing skilled talent shortages and increasing diversity in high-growth, high-demand jobs. Sourced from our Preferred Providers of Healthcare Talent (TBA), we will place up to 30 Medical Assistant (MA) students in 240-hour paid work experiences at local health offices, at no cost to the business. Learn more on MA demand here. Applications open late September.
On top of this, we will be reaching out to existing networks and consortiums already engaged in this work to see what additional resources we can bring to the table—and we welcome the involvement and support of any EDC investors in this critical work.
We know that nurses and advanced healthcare professionals cannot be created overnight. So, as we think of ways to ensure that the pipeline of future healthcare workers remains strong, it is increasingly important to recognize, incentivize, and reward those who have spent the last year and a half in the thick of a battle that still does not have an end in sight. We all owe them more than I can possibly put into words.
Additional information on EDC’s work is featured and linked below, and as always, we know that none of it would be possible without your leadership, investment, and support. Thank you for always putting us in the position to do work that matters for our economy and our community.
With gratitude and optimism,
San Diego health systems are hiring: