Chicago health systems join forces to promote careers in healthcare across West and South Sides

UCM campus photo

Advocate Aurora Health, Sinai Chicago and University of Chicago Medicine today announced Healthcare Forward, part of the systems' Bridge Initiative Chicago partnership to promote healthcare careers. Healthcare Forward offers free training and the guarantee of a job interview to people in economically distressed communities who may have never considered a career in the healthcare field.

Healthcare Forward is focused on recruiting individuals – particularly those on the West and South Sides of Chicago – for a wide range of entry-level jobs in healthcare that require only a high school diploma or GED equivalent. The program is accepting registrations for a no-cost, six-hour career-readiness course that can be taken online or in person. After completion, individuals are guaranteed an interview at one of the three participating health systems.

"There can be a misperception that a career in healthcare requires advanced degrees and lots of technical training," said Debra Wesley, president, Sinai Community Institute, at Sinai Chicago. "In truth, healthcare systems need all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds with a range of skill sets."

The Healthcare Forward course provides an orientation of healthcare career paths and hospital operations, and examines factors that contribute to success in the job application process and the job itself.

"By offering this course and guaranteeing job interviews, we're removing roadblocks and demystifying the application process so that more people can begin rewarding careers helping others in their own communities," said Jerry Baake, manager, workforce development, at Advocate Aurora Health.

"The opportunity to turn a job into a lifelong career that provides personal fulfillment and financial security starts with a foot in the door. This initiative provides that step in," said Betsy Rahill, director, talent strategy at UChicago Medicine. "Healthcare Forward is about reaching out to communities and exclaiming: 'We need you in healthcare.'"

Healthcare Forward is the community track component of Bridge Initiative Chicago, a workforce development partnership created by the three health systems with a grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. The two other components are Evolve, the incumbent track that helps current employees of the three healthcare systems advance their careers; and Rise Higher, the emerging leadership track that assists employees as they pursue management positions.