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Workforce Connections: Shared Vision and Commitment

Rural communities often find recruitment and retention to be difficult as talent leaves the community following high school. Rather than returning following the completion of their post-secondary education, young talent often relocate to large communities in the state leaving smaller communities with clinical workforce gaps and future economic development concerns. Faced with this challenge and based on significant feedback from our Heartland Health Alliance (HHA) members, the team sought collaborative partnerships with the state community college systems and member hospitals to reapply workforce solutions from other industries to healthcare.

Focused Areas of Workforce Shortage:

  • Registered Nurses
  • Radiology Technologists
  • Laboratory Technicians
  • Surgical Technologists
  • Respiratory Therapists

A Collaborative, Long-Term Partnership of Trust

To begin to fill clinical workforce gaps, we set out to launch a Heartland Health Alliance (HHA) 10-hospital pilot program. We then began to shape our solution and identify who could fill needed roles. 

Non-traditional student became our focus. These individuals typically:

  • Delay post-secondary education for a variety of reasons, returning to school later in life
  • Go back to school to pursue a more challenging career
  • Veterans exiting military service seeking new career 

Education is the critical element to bridge the gap between vacant openings and filled positions. Therefore, we secured a collaborative education partnership with Southeast Community College (SCC) to provide the necessary education.

SCC's Role

  • Provide training programs in 15 counties across Nebraska
  • Equip participating organizations with Accu Placement to determine student's potential for success in selected program
  • Provide associate degree education to select individuals
  • Communicate student progress to organization with student's permission

How it Works

Participating Hospital and Sponsored Student Commitment

  1. Hospital provides financial and job commitment
  2. Hospital chooses number of participating students and program
  3. Hospital recruits and selects local, non-traditional participants with SCC screening assistance
  4. Student must be full-time
  5. Student must complete program and commit to three years of employment at participating hospital

Gaining a Return on Investment

  • Reduce turnover - the average cost to replace clinical staff in a critical access hospital (CAH) is 2x the annual salary
  • Reduce contract labor
  • Invest in the people within your community
  • Prepare for current and future workforce shortages

Interested in Becoming a Participating Hospital?

To determine if the Workforce Connections program is suitable for your organization, please contact us to learn more about the organizational and financial commitment needed, along with how to identify the ideal candidate for success.

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