H-CAP Makes Apprenticeship Work for Healthcare Workers

Organization Summary

The Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP), a national labor-management cooperation organization headquartered in New York City, aims to provide its extensive network with timely guidance and support as they expand training and upskilling opportunities. The organization, led by a board comprised of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) locals and healthcare employers, counts around a thousand employers as members, covering over 650,000 union workers eligible for collectively-bargained training benefits. By connecting multiple stakeholders in healthcare workforce development, H-CAP has created a national community of knowledge and practice, facilitating the sharing of innovative ideas and strategies across the sector. 

Overview of H-CAP's Apprenticeship Efforts

As of 2017, the healthcare sector employs more people than any other industry in the country. In order to be able to provide accessible, quality healthcare as the field continues to grow, time is of the essence in ensuring access to the education, training, and support needed to prepare people to meet workforce needs in healthcare. While H-CAP’s resources and expertise cover a range of healthcare workforce development strategies, apprenticeship is growing in importance as a means of meeting training needs in a variety of healthcare occupations. H-CAP’s participation in the Apprenticeship Forward Collaborative follows their numerous research and technical assistance projects designed to expand the reach of apprenticeship opportunities in healthcare.

As interest around apprenticeship grows in healthcare occupations, H-CAP is undertaking a number of projects to expand opportunities and provide needed technical assistance to government bodies, apprenticeship sponsors, and related training providers as they work to expand capacity. To build knowledge among stakeholders, the organization launched the H-CAP Education Association in 2014. The association draws from member labor-management workforce intermediary organizations, which provide training and upskilling opportunities in a range of healthcare occupations, to disseminate resources on current best practices in the field. Members can access webinars and peer clinics on topics relevant to staff in the healthcare workforce development space.

In order to further their work of knowledge-sharing in the field, H-CAP founded the National Center for Healthcare Apprenticeships. The Center works to disseminate information on best practices for leveraging registered apprenticeship to prepare skilled workers for high-need healthcare occupations, such as medical assistant, medical coder, community health worker, and more. Employers can access this information to conceptualize how registered apprenticeship could help them fill workforce needs in their organizations through accessing new talent pools for entry level workers and upskilling incumbent workers.

In collaboration with ApprenticeshipUSA, H-CAP developed the Toolkit for Registered Apprenticeship in Healthcare, along with a series of other resources for stakeholders at various points in the process of launching a registered apprenticeship program. This resource, designed with the technical assistance needs of employers and potential apprenticeship sponsors in mind, provides both basic context and terminology for registered apprenticeship, along with guidance on the process of launching and managing a registered apprenticeship program. 

Local Partners

The organization’s extensive network of employers and SEIU locals benefits from H-CAP’s research and technical assistance as they work to share information on best practices and policy. In order to continue to foster growth in healthcare apprenticeships, H-CAP is taking a dual national and local strategy to get things done. Aiming to increase the reach of registered apprenticeship in healthcare on a large scale, H-CAP was invited to be a National Industry Partner of the US Department of Labor. H-CAP’s National Center for Healthcare Apprenticeship provided support and expertise in the development of a community health worker apprenticeship program in New York City, launched in 2016. Most recently H-CAP has partnered with Apprenticeship Rhode Island, an American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) grantee, to support a new community health worker, medical coder, and medical assistant apprenticeship program in the state. Through partnerships at multiple levels, H-CAP provides a range of supports as private- and public-sector stakeholders have need. 

Trends in Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are newer in healthcare than in many other fields, but opportunities have grown greatly, even within just the past few years. H-CAP’s goal of expanding apprenticeship into healthcare occupations where the model is previously unused or little-used puts their efforts at the cutting edge of registered apprenticeship in the US. By translating the language of apprenticeship for healthcare employers, they connect employers in the sector to additional resources and training pathways to support entry and retention in well-paying occupations critical to community well-being.

Interested in learning more about H-CAP's work? Contact Gina Obando for additional information.