This practice brief introduces work-based learning, a central and novel aspect of how workers in the Jobs to Careers initiative are trained and advanced, and it illustrates an approach to implementing this core concept at the initiative’s sites in Arizona and Oregon.A partnership headed by Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff designed a four-step, work-based learning process for public health technicians on the Navajo reservation. The partnership headed by Asante Health System then adapted and refined that process for the setting of an urban hospital, showing how the method can be successfully applied in a completely different environment. The experiences of the two partnerships illustrate how practitioners—at Jobs to Careers sites and in the health care sector in general—might apply this concept to frontline health work.
Jobs to Careers is a five-year, $15.8 million national initiative dedicated to improving the quality of care for patients and communities by changing the way frontline workers are trained, rewarded, and advanced in careers. Work-based learning represents a novel approach to meeting labor force needs in health care as well as in other fields. It harnesses the untapped potential for instruction and skill development inherent in the job itself, using job tasks and responsibilities to teach both clinical and academic skills. And it changes the way instruction is delivered, with the goal of making it more effective and accessible for workers and more efficient for employers.