Fairview receives grant money for innovative workforce development program

Fairview Health Services will receive $750,000 for an innovative program designed to advance employees’ educations and fill gaps in the workforce.

Fairview will use the funds over a five-year period to fund apprenticeships, on-the-job training and tuition support for 150 nurses and healthcare workers attempting to obtain four-year degrees and other credentials.

The grant is part of an effort to increase access to apprenticeships in high-growth sectors such as health care. The U.S. Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship initiative awarded the Minnesota Department of Economic and Employee Development $5 million overall in federal grant money, a portion of which is slated for Fairview’s program.

“In our state, 15 percent of all the jobs needed are in health care,” said Laura Beeth, Fairview’s director of talent acquisition. “Since you can’t produce a pharmacist quickly, that leads to a skills gap. We can’t afford to have that in our country and in our state.”

The funds will help support nurses who have two-year degrees further their educations, connect with mentors and receive on-the-job training, particularly at Ebenezer, Fairview’s senior housing division. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, nurses will have the opportunity to stay at Ebenezer or seek out other opportunities within Fairview.

The program will also increase outreach to women and minority groups and help pave the way to higher wages and a more secure career path.

“The landscape and demographics are changing, and we are trying to match our patient population with a more diverse workforce,” said Beeth. “Education is increasingly expensive, and we have a lot of people coming into the workforce who don’t have the same education level as those leaving.”

“Congratulations to Fairview Health Services for proactively helping workers advance their careers in the health care field,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “Innovative programs such as this will go a long way toward creating a more diverse workforce and addressing potential worker shortages in coming years.”

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