Health Care Career Pathways and Adult English Language Learners
Health care is the fastest growing employment sector in the United States, with shortages expected at all levels, from entry-level positions in direct care to positions requiring extensive graduate education and experience. The growth of the American workforce will depend heavily on foreign-born workers especially the fast growing Hispanic and Asian populations. These populations offer the possibility of a more linguistically and culturally diverse health care workforce. However, they need access to a range of education and training programs, including English language training to enable them to fill the many current and future positions in health care. In addition, continued education and training needs to be available to them after they enter the health care workforce. Career pathways, with multiple entry and exit points, are needed to help foreign-born workers to access these positions.
This report discusses health care workforce needs in entry-level, midlevel and professional positions, a profile of the changing American workforce, with a focus on adult immigrants and English language learners (ELLs) and their workforce participation, and how adult ELLs could fill health care positions. The report also discusses health care career pathways, including some profiles of program providers who have created pathways for ELLs to meet the workforce needs. Profiled programs include: Carreras en Salud, The Health Care Advancement Program, Washington State Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) program, and the Welcome Back Centers. The paper also identifies promising practices for future planning of career pathways and additional research needs.
The resource provides valuable background information, context, and models associated with creating health care career pathways for adult ELLs. It will be especially useful to those interested in immigrant integration of professionals, and to those planning a health care career pathway program. The article is written by nationally recognized experts in ELL instruction and development.