Health Worker Training Programs Struggle To Meet Demand in Calif.
Despite high levels of demand, many California community colleges are turning down qualified applicants for health worker training programs, according to a new survey conducted by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, California Watch reports.
For the survey, researchers interviewed 33 deans of allied health programs at community colleges in California. The project received funding from a California Wellness Foundation grant to Fenton Communications (Perez, California Watch, 1/31).
According to the survey, California will need about 988,000 allied health workers by 2030, but the state's education system is on pace to train only about 634,000 such employees. Allied health workers include nursing aids, medical assistants, respiratory therapists and other specialized medical employees (Gonzales, San Jose Mercury News, 1/28). Â
Seventy-two percent of deans who participated in the survey reported that allied health training programs are their college's most sought-after educational track, but only 6% said that their institution accepted all qualified applicants for allied health programs in 2009 and 2010.
Researchers asked the deans about reasons for turning away qualified applicants and found that:
- 78% of deans cited inadequate funding;
- 76% of deans cited too few partnerships for training and apprenticeship opportunities; and
- 75% of deans cited a lack of funding to hire enough instructors (California Watch, 1/31).
In a San Gabriel Valley Tribune opinion piece, Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), writes that California will be moving in the "wrong direction" unless it takes steps to enroll more qualified applicants in allied health worker training programs.
Hernandez writes, "It's time for an ambitious plan that helps our education system produce the work force we'll need: home-grown professionals that can provide more local, culturally competent care" (Hernandez, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 1/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.