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HIP and Santa Cruz County Workforce Development Board Launches Health Workforce Council

Santa Cruz County: The Health Improvement Partnership of Santa Cruz County (HIP) in partnership with the Santa Cruz County Workforce Development Board launched the Santa Cruz County Health Workforce Council on June 22nd, 2022.

The Health Workforce Council aims to build, strengthen and diversify Santa Cruz County’s health workforce with qualified individuals who can best support and provide health services to the community. In alignment with the California Future Health Workforce Commission's key strategies, the Health Workforce Council aims to increase opportunities for Santa Cruz County residents to advance in health professions and align and expand education and training through pipeline programs, work-based learning, and continued professional development for incumbent workers.

Santa Cruz County Workforce Development Board’s Director, Andy Stone, reflects that “The healthcare industry accounts for roughly 14% of all jobs in Santa Cruz County and has long been a source for living wage employment. Serving on the frontlines of the pandemic, the healthcare industry has seen unprecedented disruption, creating a unique opportunity to rethink how we engage and train the future workforce. We are thrilled to partner with the Health Improvement Partnership and the newly formed Health Workforce Council to help build, strengthen and diversify this vital industry.”

Building off of the qualitative data in our Health Workforce Listening Tour in Santa Cruz County: Findings and Recommendations for the Santa Cruz County Health Workforce Council (view here) and the success of the Health Workforce Council launch this June, HIP is confident that collaboration with the Santa Cruz County Workforce Development Board and the broader healthcare employer ecosystem will bolster the health workforce and healthcare delivery in Santa Cruz County. Through partnership development and creative problem solving, the council structure will elevate priorities and co-create work plans resulting in early achievements, and commitments to long-term goals, while fostering shared accountability and investment in the development of the workforce needed to support the healthcare needs of our community.

HIP’s Executive Director, Elisa Orona, remarks “We hear from healthcare employers every day that workforce is a top priority. Recruiting, training, and retaining a diverse staff that can serve the community’s healthcare needs is a common goal. The promise of the Healthcare Workforce Council is that – with collaboration between employers, educators, and the community – we can increase the pipeline of skilled and culturally humble healthcare workers in our county. Creating pathways to well-paying jobs, that stabilize our healthcare system and serve to improve the health and wellbeing of the community, is a win for all.”

We invite Santa Cruz County healthcare professionals and those working in health education and training programs to join the Health Workforce Council, which will meet quarterly. Six workforce tracks have been identified and workgroups supported by HIP staff will meet regularly to implement the development of workforce solutions for the following careers: behavioral health and health social workers, community health workers, medical assistants, nurses, physicians, pediatricians, and clinicians, and technicians in phlebotomy, radiology/mammography, and surgical technologists. Interested participants can contact HIP’s Workforce Development Program Manager, Hayley Mears, at

Together, we will shape an equitable future where all Santa Cruz County residents interested in pursuing healthcare careers can thrive!

For more information about our Workforce Development program, please visit


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