The California Endowment (TCE) has been working to improve health care career opportunities in underserved communities since 2015 through its 21st Century Pathways to Health Careers initiative. The overarching vision of the initiative is to develop equitable student-centered pathways to health careers in the 14 sites of the Building Healthy Communities (BHC) initiative.
Meeting the health care needs of an increasingly diverse populace will require an effort to diversify and build the frontline health workforce. The “career pathways” aspect of the BHC initiative connects health-related classroom learning with exposure to work experiences that can set a solid foundation for developing the talent needed in the health workforce.
Across the network of sites, we identified the following four elements of practice as clear signs of success in efforts to develop equitable health career pathways:
- Connecting a shared vision to tangible goals and action
- Prioritizing equity
- Developing employer champions
- Strengthening work-based learning systems and programming
This brief presents examples of successful practices at several of the 14 sites that may help other educational institutions, employers, and communities in California and across the country develop similar career pathways initiatives.