News Release

California Hospitals, Others Address Long-Term Need for Qualified Health Care Workers
1-Day Conference Brings Together Hospitals, Clinics, Educators and Governmental Leaders

Sacramento (May 12, 2009) – While it may seem at odds with the current economic climate, California and the nation are facing a long-term shortage of essential health care workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health care industry will need an estimated 69,000 additional clinical laboratory scientists and 68,000 more medical laboratory technicians by 2012.

To address these critical workforce issues, more than 200 health care leaders, educators, governmental officials and non-profit executives are gathering today at a one-day conference in Sacramento to explore innovative public-private partnerships in the education and training of allied health care professionals.

The conference, titled “Partnering for Success – Addressing California’s Need for Qualified, Diverse Allied Health Professionals,” is co-sponsored by the California Hospital Association (CHA) and The California Endowment. The conference will highlight successful partnership models that address the long-term need for laboratory scientists and technicians, radiology technologists, respiratory therapists and pharmacists.

“Although the current economic crisis is resulting in a short-term tightening of the job market, it is clear that health care providers across the country will need thousands of new workers within the next three to five years,” said CHA President and CEO C. Duane Dauner.

“The challenge we face is in the education and training of these individuals. This conference brings together a broad coalition of stakeholders who are working to address this critical shortage of health care workers,” Dauner adds.

The conference’s keynote speaker is Victoria Bradshaw, Cabinet Secretary to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. Secretary Bradshaw was instrumental in the creation of the California Nurse Education Initiative and is now playing a key role in the state’s efforts to address the allied health care workforce shortage.

The conference also will highlight efforts to broaden the ethnic and cultural diversity of the allied health professional workforce. Among the educational sessions will be one that explores partnerships between hospitals and high schools which enable ethnically diverse students to spend part of their school day in clinical settings.

Other sessions will focus on efforts that have addressed the shortage of nurses and nurse faculty in California, with an emphasis on what lessons translate well to the shortage of allied health professionals.

Closing out the conference will be a presentation by Stephanie Leach, Assistant Secretary, Policy and Program Development for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. Leach will discuss Governor Schwarzenegger’s recently announced Allied Health Initiative, a $32 million public-private partnership that will bring together regional industry and education leaders throughout the state for the purpose of developing and expanding effective allied health workforce education and training partnerships.

The conference is being held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel, 500 Leisure Lane in Sacramento.