APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
APHA will use its advocacy and communication networks, job resource - CareerMart, annual meeting sessions, learning institute structure, and professional development network to implement a three-pronged strategy:
1) Advocacy: The ACA reauthorizes existing programs - as well as creates new programs - that provide loan repayment, scholarships, fellowships, residencies, and other support to new and existing public health and clinical health care workers across workplaces and the educational spectrum. APHA will undertake the following activities to advocate for funding from the ACA to address the public health training needs:
a) Post and widely disseminate APHA's Policy Brief on Workforce Issues through its partnerships with other stakeholders;
b) Prepare a fact sheet on workforce issues for use in APHA and partners' advocacy materials; and
c) Incorporate questions and talking points on workforce issues into the summer Public Health Action (PHACT) campaign. The PHACT campaign is APHA's summer campaign to mobilize its members, affiliates, and other advocates to educate their members of Congress on important public health issues that build healthy communities.
2) Online Portals: APHA's Public Health CareerMart is the premier electronic recruitment resource for the industry. Here, employers and recruiters can access the most qualified talent pool with relevant work experience to fulfill staffing needs. APHA will undertake the following activities to widen its dissemination of current up-to-date information about job opportunities, needs for retraining and resources to assist with job placement.
a) Create a new bi-monthly newsletter for job seekers to promote available opportunities in the health sector;
b) Survey employers to identify training needs for future public health workers;
c) Identify gaps in training based on analysis of survey data;
d) Develop and disseminate tips and resources for job seekers to become better candidates; and
e) Track a selected sample of employers and job seekers to better prepare the workforce for future opportunities.
3) APHA professional educational offerings at the annual meeting and through web based offerings will be enhanced to strengthen the transitional educational needs of public health workers to meet the new challenges in an environment where there is near universal health coverage. APHA will undertake the following activities to identify gaps in workforce preparedness and work with identified partners to develop educational activities that address these gaps;
a) Convene a meeting with government agencies, stakeholders and partners on workforce training issues at the 2011 Annual Meeting;
b) Using data from the employers' survey and other data from the field, develop opportunities for employers and job seekers to provide and receive training to address identified gaps;
c) Develop and disseminate a series of factsheets on the most sought after skills employers are looking for and resources to job seekers on how to obtain those skills;
d) Develop a skill building learning institute course, web-based training, and informational materials for employers and job seekers over the next three years. APHA will disseminate opportunities and information through its vast network of partners, and social media sites.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
1. Advocacy Activities on Public Health Workforce Issues
Summer 2011: The Government Relations department will prepare and disseminate a fact sheet on public health workforce issues, describing the current state of the public health workforce and the impact of the Affordable Care Act on various components of the workforce in the future. Between 2012 and 2014, the fact sheet will be updated annually to reflect the ongoing implementation of health reform provisions related to the public health workforce.
July 2011: APHA will prepare and disseminate sample questions and talking points on workforce issues for public health advocates to use in their summer advocacy efforts, including at town halls and in meetings with Congressional staff.
August 2011: Public health advocates across the country will use the APHA materials in their advocacy activities, including at town halls and in meetings with Congressional staff.
From summer 2012 to summer 2014, APHA will annually update and disseminate sample questions and talking points on workforce issues to reflect implementation timelines in the Affordable Care Act.
Advocacy for HRSA and CDC Funding
Between summer 2011 and fall 2014, APHA will stress the importance of a strong public health workforce in our advocacy activities around funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This will include discussing the impact of CDC and HRSA's workforce programs (such as the National Health Service Corps and loan repayment programs) on access to care across the country and working with our coalition partners to protect funding for workforce programs. The information will be presented at meetings with Congressional staff on appropriations funding and in action alerts via Convio to members of Congress requesting strong support for CDC and HRSA funding.
2. Job Training Activities for the Public Health Workforce
Summer 2011: A bi-monthly newsletter for job seekers will be developed and launched in August 2011 that will provide job listings, tips on resume writing, interview skills and other resources. Information will be written by health and employment experts and will be circulated to over 50,000 contacts in our CareerMart and membership databases. Winter 2012: the bi-monthly newsletter will be analyzed to determine its effectiveness in connecting job seekers with employers and/or providing usable information for job seekers to gain additional skills to be more marketable candidates for future job openings.
Summer 2012: The bi-monthly newsletter will continue to be updated, revised and identification of relevant information through literature reviews, contacts with experts in the field and other relevant stakeholders will be disseminated.
During the APHA Annual Meetings, job seekers and employers will take part in the CareerMart which provides them with an opportunity to meet and interview during the meeting. Focus groups will be convened to determine the best strategies for aligning job seekers skills with future public health jobs. The results of these focus groups discussions as well as an analysis of job seekers will integrated into the newsletters.
Summer 2014: APHA expects to reach over 200,000 job seekers. A report will be compiled to describe the outcome of the job seekers implementation of information and resources gained from the newsletter.
Job Seeker and Employer Surveys
Winter 2011: APHA will conduct two surveys - one with a selected number of job seekers and one with employers, to identify gaps between job seeker skills and employer needs. This information will be gathered and analyzed to determine at least one area for workforce training.
Summer 2012: Survey results will be analyzed and serve as the basis for development of trainings, workshops and seminars for job seekers.
Fall 2012: Survey results will be shared with employers and job seekers through the newsletter, CareerMart and partner mechanisms at the APHA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA - October 2012.
Fall 2013: Identify and track a sample of job seekers to determine the effectiveness of the newsletter, onsite coaching, tips and trainings offered by and through APHA and its' partners. Activities will take place during APHA's Annual Meeting in November 2013 through CareerMart.
Summer 2014: Calculate number of job seekers that were connected to jobs through newsletter tips, CareerMart, onsite coaching, web and face-to-face trainings and workshops.
Education Activity for the Public Health Workforce
Winter 2012: Using the data obtained through the employer survey and CDC and HRSA information on the public health workforce, APHA will develop at least one training course for the APHA Annual Meeting that will be held in San Francisco, CA in October 2012. APHA will determine the most appropriate mechanism for this training -web-base, live training, or integration into already established mechanisms, depending on the training needs identified.
Summer 2012: APHA will use its web-based system, partners' strategies and the APHA Annual Meeting to discuss the evaluations of the employers and job seekers data gathering to develop Learning Institute courses, scientific sessions and CareerMart activities.
Fall 2012: APHA will conduct at least one training session through its Learning Institute course, scientific session or web-based system based on the evaluation of the employer survey during its APHA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
Winter 2013: APHA will evaluate its sessions, courses and trainings and determine the best mechanisms to provide these activities to the wider audience through webinars, online self-paced trainings or resources for job seekers and employers to connect.
Fall 2014: APHA will report to the field the activities undertaken and the expected impact on the public health workforce through its learning institute courses, scientific sessions and meeting during the APHA Annual Meeting in November 2013.
Winter 2014: APHA will analyze its impact of its activities on connecting the public health workforce to employers and disseminate this information to stakeholders through its newsletter, The Nation's Health, its electronic newsletter, Inside Public Health, its numerous contacts in APHA's Convio database and through its partners' dissemination mechanisms.
In addition, between fall 2011 and fall 2013: APHA will host a meeting with numerous stakeholders at its Annual Meeting in Washington, DC October 30, 2011 to discuss public health workforce issues. Stakeholders will be invited to participate and generate activities that support identification and training of the public health workforce in the 21st Century.
The public health workforce, which includes all those working to promote health and ensure healthy living conditions, is estimated to comprise nearly 500,000 people working in a variety of settings, from governmental health agencies to nonprofits and other organizations. Today, the public health workforce provides essential public health services while facing numerous challenges including high and growing rates of chronic diseases, environmental threats such as climate change, air and water pollution, and racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities, and they are doing so with diminishing resources. Together, the current budgetary crisis and waves of retirement have resulted in a severe shortage of public health workers at governmental health agencies. An estimated 23,000 to 37,000 public health jobs at the state and local levels have been lost over the last few years, representing between 9% and 14% of the workforce (NACCHO, 2010). Many of these positions are expected to remain unfilled because of fiscal constraints. Worker shortages and budget cuts mean public health workers have to do more with less, which exacerbates the already difficult task of worker recruitment and retention, and results in reduced public health services. Nearly 9 out of 10 (89%) state health agencies cut services between 2008 and 2010 (ASTHO, 2011). The majority of state and local health agencies have reduced services over the past few years, jeopardizing the public's health.