Archive for the ‘Entry-level’ Category

Creating Accelerated Career Pathways into Healthcare

August 4, 2015 1 comment

BLOG_AcceleratePathwaysHealthcare-1According to Manpower’s 2015 Talent Shortage Survey (#TalentShortage), nursing occupations is #7 on a list of 10 industries. For survey purposes, nurses includes:

Non-degree: CMAs, PCAs, CNAs, HHAs, LPNs, and LVNs

Degreed: RNs

Advanced degree: APNs, NPs,  PAs, CLNs, CNSs, CNMs, CRNAs

Doctoral degree: DNPs, PhDs


According to Stephanie Neuvirth, chief human resources and diversity officer at City of Hope in Duarte, CA:

“Jobs in accounting, finance, IT and administration are plentiful in health care. Although these jobs provide the infrastructure for the health care industry, parents, guidance counselors and students don’t realize they exist.”

Career fields such as healthcare, especially where patient contact is key, are challenging to fill because success depends on having the right combination of soft skills, technical skills, and physical ability. Certain roles in health care also needs individuals who are able to relate to the cultural and spiritual norms of the patient. Healthcare providers in Duarte, CA understand this challenge all too well, as 71% of their patients are Hispanic.

“Only 6 percent of the physicians and 8 percent of the nurses in the U.S. are Hispanic”

When I look across the landscape of career education, I see many schools providing training in allied healthcare, yet employers still struggle to get the type of employee they really need. It’s clear that the typical training program is not quite hitting the mark. In some cases the problem is the curriculum, in other cases the problem is access to internships, but in some cases (and I hate to say this) it’s the student. I’ve had first-hand experience on numerous occasions where a student wanted to join my healthcare training program because “there’s a lot of jobs in healthcare”. As a program manager, if your primary concern was getting enough students enrolled into the course to meet your revenue target, it may be easy to fill your class with students who can do the technical skills of medical care, but who lack the genuine compassion for patient care. These type of students will ultimately be fairly unemployable in the healthcare industry. As workforce development planners and education & training providers I believe this is something that deserves our consideration.

There are three programs making an impact on suring-up our need for qualified and quality health care talent I’d like to share with you:

CareerSTAT is “an initiative to document and endorse the business case for investments in frontline hospital workers and to establish an employer-led advocacy council to promote investments that yield strong skill development and career outcomes for low-wage, frontline hospital workers”. Nearly 100 health care organizations partner with CareerSTAT including Kaiser Permanente and Banner Health. Some of their activities include:

  • An employer-led national collaboration of health care leaders
  • A clearinghouse for best practices in health care and shared information in training development
  • A focus on early college and career pathway programs and provides low-income and minority students with access to in-demand health care careers
  • Work towards initiatives that would get Hispanic youth engaged in health care careers

TEACH Project (Train, Educate, and Accelerate Careers in Healthcare)- seeks to create skilled workers in health IT. This project works with high-school students to provide education, training and job shadowing opportunities, integrated with their current school studies. Students concurrently receive high-school credit, community college credit, and on the job experience that accelerates their entrance into a job in the medical field.

Homebridge, Inc in San Mateo, CA – One of the most advanced employer-based, entry-level training programs into the medical field. The Homebridge training program provides adult-centered, competency- based training curriculum, designed to be accessible to students with a minimum of 6th grade proficiency. The training highlights the value of hands-on learning and includes a simulation apartment where caregivers can practice with beds, wheelchairs, and bathroom facilities. Success in the classroom is supported in the field by peer mentors who provide on- the-job training and a work-life coach who addresses barriers to job retention. Because of their strong emphasis on training & development, Homebridge’s 37% turnover rate for frontline caregivers is 31% lower than the 54% national average.



As workforce developers and education & training providers move forward with WIOA (Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act) implementation activities, I believe programs like these give great models to emulate, but more so, some good starting points for finding the right kind of partnerships. Remember, partnerships and “stackablity” are key components to a successful WIOA funded program.

This article is based on my own research, therefore I have no endorsement of any kind from these three programs. If you’d like to read more about them you’ll find articles at these two links.

CareerSTAT & TEACH –

Homebridge, Inc:

Michelle Walker-Wade Workforce & Training Professional

Michelle Walker-Wade
Workforce & Training Professional


Vocabulary Development for Workplace Communications

October 27, 2012 Leave a comment

The Read.Write.Act 2012 Virtual Conference  convenes this Thursday and Friday, November 1-2, 2012.   The conference theme is: LITERACY AS A NATIONAL PRIORITY.

I will be presenting on the topic:  Vocabulary Development for Workplace Communications” on Friday at 1pm EST.

Why Develop Vocabulary?  Vocabulary is fundamental to every other literacy skill and for most communication skills. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers the Job Outlook 2012 report, employers want employees who can communicate.  Here’s how communication skills rated based on a five-point scale:

In my presentation I will discuss how we as  educators and literacy advocates can provide learning opportunities that are relevant for today’s workforce, engaging and appropriate for our population of learners, and that has enough breadth and depth to prepare them to meet their employer’s needs.

The registration fee  for both days is only $25. I encourage you to register, as the wealth of information you’ll receive is well worth the money.  Click here to see the full conference schedule.

I see a countless numbers of students complete vocational training programs in health care, accounting, computer applications, and more who – despite their high scores on these technical skills – cannot obtain and/or maintain employment because they’re unable to communicate with employers, co-workers and customers. For some, the employers gives them a try, just to see how it goes; but it’s not long before they’re let go.  We cannot neglect the importance of this skill as a core, foundational employment skill.

I hope you’ll join us for this workshop and conference.  Please check it out.

Michelle Walker-Wade
Workplace Literacy &
Career Strategy


Employment and Unemployment in the 209

January 20, 2012 1 comment

Did you know that in San Joaquin County…

  • The county unemployment rate is 15.9% while Alameda County is 9.3%?


The top 3 fastest growing jobs are:

  • Personal and Home Care Aides ($9.86/hour),
  • Information Security Analysts, Web Developers, and Computer Network Architect – ($36.11/hour)
  • And other personal care and Service Workers such as beauticians, barbers, disability care workers, and food service workers – (pay rate varies)

Looking at the unemployment rates and taking into account the dramatic difference between the rate of pay for the 3 top fastest growing jobs, you must notice that unless you’re interested in spending the time and money needed to gain very technical skills, the quickest route into the workforce appears to be some sort of personal care.  Personal care jobs are often viewed as “low-skill” jobs; and as you can see from the rate of pay that these type jobs generally are low paying jobs as well.  While you many not want to make a life-long career in such low-skill/low-pay jobs, I encourage you to go ahead and enter (or re-enter) the workforce through the door that is open.

Getting in the workforce will help you:

  1. Develop even more skills (particularly soft-skills which employers say are 87.5% of almost every job).
  2. Build your confidence level and your general feelings of usefulness.
  3. Send a message to your family and friends that you are still workforce-minded, thereby minimizing the amount of time available to do random activities that really are  low priority time-busters.

I have found, particularly in the 209 area code, the conditions of the job market have many people so despondent they’ve found solace in doing “random activities“.  What I say to you is this:  make those activities count for something.  Use them to give you an edge into a new world or work. Unemployment benefits will not last forever. Just take a look at South Carolina’s new unemployment rules coming in 2012.  Under these  new rules, after a month of collecting benefits, the unemployed must now accept any offer for a job that pays at least 90 percent of what they used to earn. After 5 months, workers must accept a job that pays minimum wage, or $7.25 an hour. South Carolina’s unemployment rate has hovered around 9% for a few years (like California).

It won’t be long before other states plagued with high unemployment rates (like California) may look at similar alternatives.  I can take a hint; can you?

Things That may Cause Your Résumé to Get Ignored

September 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Tons of people are on the hunt for a job. Some are hunting more fervently than others, putting out résumés for every job in sight, yet getting no bites.  So what are some reasons that may cause your résumé to get ignored?  I’m sure you’ve heard that your résumé should be error free with no typos. While I agree with this as a goal, I must tell you that I have in fact called in an individual for an interview who had a less than perfect résumé.  So, let’s consider a few other résumé faux pas I believe can hurt you:

      • Your résumé does not have the correct vocabulary or keywords for the job or industry for which you are applying.


      • You have included the job or industry keywords, but you have not used them in the correct context of the job; it looks like you’ve found the right words to use, but have no idea how to use them.


      • When comparing the body of your résumé to the job posting there is no connection between the two. The way I see it, if you did not take time to show me how you qualify for this open position, I cannot take the time to figure it out either.


      • You either have not included accomplishment statements or the accomplishment statements you have included seem too unrealistic; this makes me wonder about your integrity.


      • You have an unprofessional email address listed in your contact information. Email addresses are free, so why not get one appropriate for business?


Lastly – and this is a true story – I once received a résumé from someone who had logo images next to each of the company names for which he had worked.  The images, obviously obtained from the company’s websites, were smudgy and pixilated.  This person’s intention was to get my attention – to make his résumé stand out in the crowd. I personally did not care for this approach, and I would not personally use this strategy; but it did make me vividly remember his résumé.  I interviewed him because other than the company logos, his résumé looked good, and he could have been the right person for the job. Although I ultimately did not hire him, more than 2 years later, I still have his résumé in my files… Not sure why though.

Your résumé is your marketing advertisement for yourself. I believe you would be better off putting additional time and intentional effort into improving the quality of each résumé instead of going at full-speed sending out the same old one.

~ Go do it! – Michelle Walker-Wade

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Have You Practiced your ‘Elevator Speech’ Lately?

August 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Have you practiced your ‘elevator speech’ lately?  What did you say?… You don’t have one?… You didn’t know you needed one?… What is an elevator speech?

I must help you quickly!

Whether you’re a job-seeker, an entrepreneur, sales associate, or a program coordinator of an organization, you need a strategic speech embedded in your memory bank so, at any moment an opportunity arises, you can pique the interest of a listener in 30 seconds or less.

Any time you’re out and about you could potentially run in to your next employer, sales opportunity, and partner organization.  You MUST be ready to convince them that your product or service is worth their consideration.  Are you trying to make a sale during your elevator speech? No, not yet.  What you are trying to do is gain an OPPORTUNITY to make a sale.

So, what’s an elevator speech, and how can you create one? Or, how can you improve the one you already have?  I would take time to explain all that to you, but there are several others who have provided some good advise on the subject.  I’ve selected a few online resources I believe will definitely get you moving on this.

Check out the items below; then, leave us a comment letting us know how these resources helped you.  ~ Enjoy!

“What is your “Elevator Pitch” – by

“How to Perfect the Elevator Pitch” – by

How to craft your 30 second elevator pitch or networking introduction – by Kathy McAfee (this one is my personal favorite)

Lastly, here are a few good articles:

Thanks for reading!  And please give your feedback on this blog.