Washington, D.C./ Politics & Govt
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Published on June 10, 2024
Bloomberg Philanthropies Grants $9.5 Million to Bolster DC Healthcare Workforce Education with Mayor Bowser's SupportSource: District of Columbia Government, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Washington DC's push to bridge the gap in the healthcare workforce just got a significant boost from Bloomberg Philanthropies with a $9.5 million injection, aimed at expanding educational opportunities for students eyeing careers in healthcare. In partnership with Mayor Muriel Bowser, the investment will fortify the District’s Advanced Technical Center (ATC) by supporting its presence in Ward 5 and establishing a new ATC in Ward 8, as confirmed by a DC Government press release.

The infusion of funds is a component of a larger strategy to revamp high school education in the District and follows previous capital from the American Rescue Plan and the US Department of Education, these financial efforts are earmarked for burgeoning healthcare curricula that aim to address the projected shortage of over 1,270 healthcare professionals by the year 2030, as noted in the same press release. Mayor Bowser accentuated the importance of preparing students for "high-wage, high-demand jobs," while Michael R. Bloomberg, whose foundation spearheads the initiative, reiterated the benefit of creating hands-on learning experiences that lead directly into America's workforce.

At the heart of the program lies the ATC, which has seen its enrollment nearly double within a school year, now serving 191 students from 15 different schools, equipped with capabilities to earn college credits and industry credentials pertinent to in-demand healthcare roles. Jacqueline D. Bowens, President & CEO of the District of Columbia Hospital Association, emphasized the timeliness of this commitment by Bloomberg Philanthropies in “a critical moment in time” for the health sector, as this funding will set more residents on their career paths in healthcare, per the DC Government.

The initiative also draws support from a coalition of stakeholders, including both the American Federation of Teachers and the Washington Teachers' Union, endorsing the expansion of quality career and technical education opportunities for students, AFT President Randi Weingarten highlighted the urgency to cultivate a new generation of healthcare professionals, referencing a projected 4 million vacant healthcare positions nationwide by 2031, and hailing this initiative as a cornerstone for embedding a secure employment pipeline, starting right from high school. In January, Mayor Bowser announced an additional $4.1 million grant from the Biden-Harris Administration further contributing to the ATC's reach.

Bloomberg Philanthropies is no stranger to career and technical education endeavors, with its CTE program originating in 2016 and recently unveiling a $250 million proposition to build new high schools around the country, exclusively designed in collaboration with public education systems and hospitals, aiming to graduate students directly into high-demand health care positions. This extensive project is foreseen to cater to nearly 6,000 students at peak capacity, with schools plotted across various urban and rural areas in the United States.