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Heinrich, Wyden Reintroduce Pathways to Health Careers Act

Legislation would help to address health care provider shortages, provide pathway to well-paid, in-demand career opportunities in health care

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) reintroduced the Pathways to Health Careers Act, legislation that reauthorizes and modernizes the Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) program to help address health care shortages in New Mexico and across the country and create pathways to high quality, in-demand health care careers.

The HPOG program has a proven track record of successfully educating workers for jobs in the health care industry, while also providing career coaching, job placement, and a mix of other support services.  

“Anyone trying to make a health care appointment in New Mexico knows: We need more health care providers. My Pathways to Health Careers Act isn’t just a solution to New Mexico’s health care shortage—it’s an unprecedented opportunity for us to create more pathways to long-term, high-quality jobs in an in-demand industry,” said Heinrich. “I will continue fighting to support careers New Mexicans can build their families around while connecting our communities to the resources they need to stay healthy.”  

“Addressing the nation's health care worker shortage means helping struggling families with job opportunities,” said Wyden. "That’s why I’m proud to introduce legislation that would provide job training, child care, transportation and more to help low-income families in Oregon and nationwide begin well-paid careers as health professionals.” 

The legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). Heinrich initially introduced the legislation in the 116th Congress. U.S. Representative Danny Davis (D-Ill.) leads the legislation in the House. 

“Restoring and strengthening the Health Profession Opportunity Grant program will connect a new generation of workers with career pathways to in-demand health care jobs while addressing barriers to employment that too often prevent the full potential of our work force - especially women and people of color - from being realized,” said Davis.“Before its Republican-forced expiration, this proven initiative expanded economic opportunity for working families across America and we must continue to build on its success in creating jobs and expanding access to care. I am proud to lead this bill with Senator Martin Heinrich, and I thank Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard E. Neal and my Democratic colleagues for their continued support of this critical program."

Created by the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the HPOG Program stands out among other job training approaches because of the mix of support services, career coaching, job placement, and post-employment training provided as part of the program. The program helps increase the number of qualified health professionals in rural, Tribal, and urban areas in need of more workers. The HPOG Program expired in September 2021. The Pathways to Health Careers Act would reauthorize and modernize the program.  

To date, the HPOG Program has served over 60,000 participants in 32 programs across 23 states. The Pathways to Health Careers Act would restart and expand the HPOG Program, providing $425 million to make HPOG available nationwide from FY2024 through FY2028 and includes set asides for Tribes and U.S. Territories. 

The Pathways to Health Careers Act has been endorsed by Ascend at the Aspen Institute, Ascend at the Aspen Institute, the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University of Washington, Alamo Colleges District. Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions (ASAHP), Center for Law and Social Policy, Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board, Eugenio María de Hostos Community College of the City University of New York, Goodwill Industries of the Valleys, National Association of Workforce Boards, State University of New York at Schenectady, Volunteers of America Michigan Inc., Volunteers of America Texas Inc., Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, Whitman-Walker Institute, The WorkPlace, and the Zepf Center.

“There is no greater indicator of success as a nation than the well-being of our children and families.  Research shows that strategic federal investments, like the Pathways to Health Careers Act, garner widespread support from voters and can increase economic mobility for families,” said Anne Mosle, Vice President at the Aspen Institute and Executive Director of Ascend at the Aspen Institute. “When training programs take a two-generation approach to improve outcomes for children and their parents together with a focus on growth industries like the health sector, they expand opportunities for generations to come.”

A fact sheet is available here and a copy of the bill is available here.