The Polk County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday announced a $1 million grant for the creation of a new Health Care Workforce Collaborative in Central Iowa. The funds will have a direct impact on recruiting and retaining a vibrant health care workforce in Central Iowa.
The $1 million investment will jump-start a collaborative effort between educators and the health care community to encourage and connect students interested in a health care career with educational and employment opportunities among the Polk County partners. The initial funding will be used for community outreach and staffing of the Polk County Health Care Workforce Collaborative. Partners include Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), Grand View University, Des Moines University (DMU), Mercy College of Health, Broadlawns, MercyOne and UnityPoint Health-Des Moines.
Polk County Board Chair Tom Hockensmith says, “We felt very strongly that funds made available from ARPA should be used in a collaborative and strategic manner. We knew that there were tremendous challenges in the health care workforce, and we are so thankful that each of the partners here took the collaboration part of this seriously. The only way to solve big problems like health care workforce is to do it together.”
“A talented and diverse workforce is at the heart of our health care system,” says DMU President and CEO Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist. “Our nation faces a shortage of physicians, nurses and other critical health care providers. Des Moines University recognizes how important it is to educate and recruit tomorrow’s health care heroes to ensure access to care for our community. We are excited to work side by side with other health care educators and leaders in Polk County to strengthen the health care workforce and impact a positive change for those we serve.”
While other institutes of higher learning will be partners in the Health Care Workforce Collaborative, DMACC will serve in the administrative role of the program. “DMACC is proud to be part of the new Health Care Workforce Collaborative, which will help ensure an increase in the number of students enrolled in health care education,” said DMACC President Rob Denson. “In Central Iowa, there are many great educational opportunities and in-demand careers available for individuals who are interested in health care. This unique collaborative will help educational institutions connect students with employers, supporting both long-term student success and the critical needs of our health care community.”
The Polk County Health Care Workforce Collaborative is currently looking for staff to fulfill this mission. To learn more, watch the full announcement here.