Through a new, robust partnership with The Cal Endowment (TCE), OC STEM has received a $225,000 grant to work with a variety of partners in the region to develop a countywide infrastructure for Health Career Pathways.
For the initiative, OC STEM will hire two facilitators to conduct a labor market analysis for health careers in Orange County and create a strategy that provides a clear road map of how the analysis will help shape the goals of the OC Health Sector Advisory Council and the Health Sector Employers who will convene regularly as a result of this grant. It is anticipated that new strategies will be developed around increasing employer engagement in high school health care pathways by convening key hospitals and health industries in our area 8 times over a two year period to identify workforce trends and requisite health career training programs needed for Orange County. In doing so, OC STEM will also help to foster and build infrastructure for high school health care pathways by working with the Orange County Department of Education’s OC Pathways program to enhance the relationships between education and major industry stakeholders. Our plan provides opportunities for employers to convene regularly to discuss workforce issues, and simultaneously OC Pathways will provide health care professions teachers the opportunity to convene and discuss career preparation at the high school and post-secondary level. In November of the second year of the grant cycle, a large-scale summit will be held to allow for an open-forum dialogue, facilitated by OC STEM, to take place between parents, teachers/faculty and health care employers. The partnerships established in this effort will develop practices and systems for program sustainability in order to create a future health care employee pipeline for the region.
Through this new funding from The Cal Endowment, OC STEM will work to raise the visibility of collaborative efforts involving K-12, community colleges and business and industry by galvanizing health care employers and stakeholders to convene and address career pathways. Because high school and community college pathways have a critical role in the health care workforce pipeline for the region, convening the education leaders with the Health Sector Advisory Council and Health Sector Employers will create an ongoing community of practice that will enhance Orange County’s ability to prepare for the future health needs of the community.