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Data included the hospital job code, position name, job group, number of employees, the zip code of each employee’s residence, minimum education required, certificate or course required, average wage and Bureau of Labor Statistics category/job title.
The Maryland Hospital Association provided job growth, vacancy and turnover data for each job cluster, and the Coalition matched the database information with known educational programs in the Baltimore area. This career “map” showed that hospitals often had similar job positions with the same training and educational requirements, and the map became a valuable tool for hospitals and workforce organizations looking to prepare people for hospital jobs.
From this discussion came an effort by key institutions to design and catalyze short- and longer-term initiatives to build the skills of Baltimore residents and develop a pipeline for qualified workers to fill or advance in critical shortages at Baltimore-area health systems. Several of the area’s largest employers joined the effort, working as a group to address staffing shortages in healthcare careers.
With the support of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS) and the Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative (BWFC) beginning in 2006, all of these efforts were able to grow and develop over ensuing years. By 2014, the NFWS had given national recognition to a number of institutions as champions of frontline workers. These institutions are Genesis Healthcare, Good Samaritan Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medical System and Sinai Hospital.
The conversation on the train was crucial. But at the same time, several key players had already been considering how to capitalize on the hiring power of area hospitals to create new economic opportunities for lower-income, lower-skilled workers in Baltimore. The Abell Foundation, for example, had researched hiring opportunities at several area hospitals. And the Baltimore City Workforce Investment Board (BWIB), which coordinates workforce training funds, was bringing on new members to help advance different approaches to meeting the needs of employers.
Momentum from those ongoing efforts, coupled with the discussion on the train, led to the creation of the Baltimore Healthcare Coalition in 2003. The Coalition was made up of representatives from several area hospitals, as well as leaders from the local WIB and area foundations (which also contributed funding), representatives from federal and state agencies, educational institutions and other nonprofit groups.
An early Coalition project was to develop a database determining the number of entry-level job positions in Baltimore City hospitals that required an associate’s degree or less, and identify career pathways leading to employment in high-growth positions.
A consultant, funded by The Abell Foundation, gathered data on all positions that require an associate’s degree or less from these four institutions: Johns Hopkins Medical System, Sinai Hospital, Mercy Hospital and University of Maryland Medical System.