Worksystems Receives $6M Grant for Workforce Training!

November 18th, 2016

An influx of training resources is heading to the Portland Metropolitan region to help under-served populations prepare for careers in health care.

The Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative (CWWC), a partnership between Clackamas Workforce Partnership, Workforce Southwest Washington and Worksystems, has been awarded a $6 million grant that will train and place historically under-represented populations into health care occupations with a solid career path. Long-term unemployed, people of color, English language learners, people with disabilities, low-income residents, and other populations facing barriers to employment will be a focus for the training resources.

“The current health care workforce does not reflect the nation’s diversity," said Brian Gibbs, Ph.D., M.P.A., OHSU, Vice President of Equity and Inclusion, Center for Diversity & Inclusion. "With the support of this funding, we can begin to cultivate and access regional workforce pipelines that both mirror and resonate with a broader patient population, and helps to improve overall patient care experience in Oregon and beyond." 

The CWWC is joined by leaders from the five largest health systems (Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health, Oregon Health & Sciences University, PeaceHealth and Providence Health & Services), the Oregon Nurses Association,  SEIU Local 49, and others who are working together to advance health equity, improve patient care quality and eliminate health care disparities. Increasing workforce diversity in the health care field is seen as an important contributor to these goals.

Specific outcomes for the grant include:

  1. Fund health career education for more than 800 local community members of color, immigrants and refugees, and people with disabilities;
  2. Provide the culturally-competent coaching, supportive and training services necessary to help this new pipeline access and persist through postsecondary education programs;
  3. Deliver mentorship and peer networking services; and
  4. Fund the development and delivery of cultural-competency training to hiring managers so that placed participants can optimally succeed, persist and advance.

About the America’s Promise Grant

The America’s Promise grants will help develop and grow regional partnerships between workforce agencies, education and training providers and employers in a variety of industries.

The America’s Promise grant competition was designed to:

  • Increase opportunities for all Americans through tuition-free training for middle-to high-skilled occupations and industries.
  • Expand employer involvement in the design and delivery of training programs.
  • Utilize evidence-based sector strategies to increase employability, employment earnings, and outcomes of job seekers.
  • Leverage additional public, private, and foundation resources to scale and sustain proven strategies.

Funded through fees paid by employers to bring foreign workers into the U.S. under the H-1B temporary visa program, these grants are intended to raise the technical skill levels of American workers and, over time, help businesses reduce their reliance on temporary visa programs.