Why are Health Careers the focus of AHEC?
The “Baby Boomers”, those born during the World War II era, are rapidly approaching retirement age. When this generation is no longer part of our workforce, it will create many job vacancies and cause huge shortages throughout the United States. One area that will be impacted significantly will be healthcare. Not only is there concern for the lack of trained professionals to fill these vacancies, but concerns for the demand that will be placed on healthcare providers when this large population becomes elderly and their need for medical care increases. There simply will not be enough healthcare professionals to meet the growing needs of this aging population.
Another issue to consider is the lack of diversity in healthcare providers. In general, people are usually more comfortable interacting with those of cultures or backgrounds similar to their own. They tend to seek providers that are most like themselves. Language barriers are often a problem in communicating ailments and receiving treatment or proper care. Therefore, the need to increase not only the number of students going into health careers, but the diversity of students entering these fields is extremely important to the health and well being of our society.
Students typically think of doctors, nurses and dentists when contemplating health careers. Many students are overwhelmed at the thought of going to school for 8 years to become a doctor. They need to understand that there are over 250 careers available in healthcare and they cover a wide variety of skill and ability levels. Students can find good paying careers in healthcare with as little as 6-9 months of training. To learn more about types of jobs, salaries and training necessary for careers in healthcare visit www.explorehealthcareers.org. The site was developed through a collaboration of partners that received funding from a grant provided by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It is a useful tool for gaining information on various aspects of healthcare and learning about health careers that may be unfamiliar.