In 2016, North Iowa Area Community College invited a group of employers, educators, and economic developers to serve on a Healthcare Sector Partnership for the purpose of discussing their workforce concerns and issues in Region 2. Employers included representatives from hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities. High growth, high demand positions were identified by employers which laid the foundation for the accompanying career pathways. The pathways do not identify all occupations within healthcare, but they do give information to potential new workers about current jobs needed in the region and those with advancement opportunities. The jobs are not specific to any one employer but do reflect the current needs of participating healthcare employers as aggregated in Region 2.
Healthcare has proven to be a very stable sector for workers and has provided opportunities for many years in spite of economic conditions. Employers felt it was important that job seekers considering the healthcare field realize that not every job in this sector requires direct personal patient care. Many occupations are available that require only minimal patient contact and are identified on the “Non-Direct Patient Care” pathway. These positions fall under categories such as informatics (electronic medical record) and support services.
Employers have listed the basic foundational skills required for any position within their organization. Job seekers should be able to demonstrate their level of proficiency in these skills when applying. In addition to these basic skills, the pathways maps provide required education degrees and specialized certifications. This information will assist youth and unemployed individuals with an accurate picture of training and skills required to be successful in their job search. Students may want to use this as they plan for future careers.
The wages included on the map are also aggregated from the participating employers and provide information on the starting wage ranges for each step on the pathway. To be qualified for the higher level jobs, individuals will need to have the skills and competencies at that level and all preceding levels. They will also be accumulating the experience necessary for career advancement.
It is also important to recognize that the wages listed do not include benefits. While adults are acutely aware of the value of benefits, younger workers may not be as familiar. It was felt that utilizing wages without benefits would provide a better comparison for the younger workers with the wages they currently receive from their part-time jobs. On average an individual can expect to earn approximately 20%-35% in additional benefits as part of their total compensation. Each employer has an individual plan they provide. These benefits may include healthcare, retirement, paid time off (vacation and sick leave), and paid holidays.
Behind the pathways map is an additional description that briefly explains the job and responsibilities for both direct and non-direct patient care positions. While these may differ slightly from one employer to another, it will assist job seekers to make a better match with their current skills.