Louisville coalition lands $40M grant to launch health care workforce innovation center – Louisville Business First

A health care workforce initiative led by several key Louisville groups has received $40 million in American Rescue Plan funding to form a new center for workforce innovation.
The project, spearheaded by CEOc, formerly the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council, launches the Center for Healthcare Workforce Innovation (CeHWI). The City of Louisville Metro Council unanimously voted to award the $40 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to the center last week.
The center will connect health care systems to industry-informed programs designed to address specific workforce needs health care companies in the area are facing. Health care jobs are expected to increase nearly four times the amount of all other jobs in the region, the executive report for this project states. That represents a need 8,500 new jobs in the field by 2029.
Beyond CEOc, the coalition behind the initiative includes AMPED, Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI), KIPDA, Louisville Metro Government, Louisville Urban League, Metro United Way and the University of Louisville.
In an interview with Business First, CEOc President and CEO Tammy York Day said the coalition has been working on the CeHWI project for a year and half.
CEOc is a council of 15 of the largest health care organizations in Louisville. Its membership includes leaders from each major hospital system, UofL, senior living systems and more.
Day said what will make this initiative different is the training will solve problems that health care workforces actually need. Through the partnerships within the CEOc, the center will determine what position is most in need and what specific skills are required to fill it.
“We were already together as the health care cluster, with the council, already working towards [workforce innovation],” Day said. “We have [a] human resource committee that are the chief human resource officers of our council companies, and they’ve been integral on providing guidance on what’s really needed by the industry to fill these positions at every level.”
Day said each of the organizations involved with have a different role to play in the initiative, and AMPED’s Russell Technology Business Incubator (RTBI) will play a key role. GLI will handle part of the talent attraction campaign for the program. UofL will credential trainers in its transformation center. The Louisville Urban League provides wraparound supports. And Metro United Way helps with financial coaching and a Black entrepreneur empowerment component.
Day said the coalition behind the center was a good example of a public-private partnership.
“We didn’t recreate what already exists,” she said. “We all came together and said, ‘What are our collective efforts? What are we doing individually, how can we bring that in and leverage the best of what we’re already doing?’ Instead of recreating it, with each individual organization.”
The center will be housed in AMPED’s RTBI headquarters in the Russell neighborhood, 1219 W. Jefferson St. CeHWI will be led and controlled by AMPED.                              
“Everything that’s generated from [the center] stays in Russell,” Day said.
Day said the $40 million is seed money, and the new center will move toward self-sufficiency by its third year. The center will hire an executive director, talent acquisition specialists, health care career advisors and a director of education and training.
Within the first four years, the center expects to recruit and fill 1,500 entry-level health care jobs, or 375 a year, according to the program’s executive summary. Other goals include creating tailored, national talent attraction campaign focused on identifying and recruiting 750 health care employees (and their families) outside of Kentucky to work in Louisville.
While the 15 organizations in CEOc will be part of the hiring in this initiative, the work is not limited to them.
“One of the things that we’re excited about is these are skills that are transferable,” Day said. “What we want is to solve this health care crisis.”
CeHWI will officially launch in February. Day hopes the work of the center will become a national model for health care workforce innovation.
“It will not only impact our community and solve for this, but it will be a national model and really put the Louisville on the map as that true health care innovation epicenter,” Day said.
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