What is Workforce for a Healthy California?
Workforce for a Healthy California is a comprehensive investment in expanding and diversifying California’s health and human services workforce across behavioral health, primary and specialty care, nursing, allied health, and direct care professions. Roles supported by the investment include nurses, social workers, caregivers, community health worker/promotor(a)s/representatives (CHW/P/R) , emergency medical technicians, and others. Workforce for a Healthy California will also support individuals interested in transitioning to health careers, including English Language Learners and underserved populations.
Californians’ health care needs grow daily. That is why the State of California is committed to building our health and human services workforce while providing opportunities for better, well-paying jobs and careers. Workforce for a Healthy California complements other major initiatives, including the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative, CalGrows, and the Reproductive Health Care Access Initiative — that together total more than $7 billion to expand the health and human services workforce.
- Making our health and human services workforce larger to address current shortages and meet future demand.
- Making the workforce more culturally competent and linguistically diverse so it is more inclusive and representative of California’s communities, while also leveraging health and human services careers as pathways for economic opportunity for diverse Californians.
- Expanding the skill sets of our workforce, so we can provide Californians with the quality care they deserve.
- Helping more Californians access well-paying career paths that provide access to good jobs and advancement.
- Increasing economic opportunity and security by providing Californians with greater resources to address social determinants of health—such as safe housing, healthy food, financial security, and access to health services — to create a healthier and more equitable future for all.
To view scholarships or loan support for health-career-related education or to find grant opportunities supporting health workforce training, hiring or retention programs, click the links below.
- Song-Brown Registered Nurse Education Program (Applications Due November 28, 2023, by 3 p.m.)
Up to $900,000 in funding to support the training of pre-licensure registered nurse programs, with funding prioritized for programs that have demonstrated success in graduating individuals who practice in medically underserved areas, enrolling members of underrepresented groups in medicine, locating the main training site in a medically underserved area, or operating a main training site at which the majority of patients are Medi-Cal recipients.
Return to this section to learn about funding opportunities as they become available.
Our online events are a great way to learn about Workforce for a Healthy California programs, including funding requirements, application deadlines, and more. Events will be listed in this section when they are announced.
Progress and Impact
- Awarded $16.9 million in grants to 32 registered nurse training programs to expand and improve access to equitable healthcare. The awards support 565 student slots – an increase of 153 slots from the previous application cycle.
- Awarded $59.4 million— $30 million of which is funded by Workforce for a Healthy California — to support social work education at 23 public universities and colleges in California. The funding also supports the expansion of 16 Master of Social Work programs and will add 860 more social work student slots.
- Awarded $33.7 million— $4 million of which is funded by Workforce for a Healthy California — for social work stipends and fellowships to support 892 students pursuing careers as Licensed Clinical Social Workers.
- Executed an interagency agreement for the Acceleration of Nursing License Processing, with $10 million over three years to support a partnership between the California Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) and the Department of Consumer Affairs to decrease processing times for Registered Nurse licensing, identify bottlenecks and barriers to timely processing, and employ additional staffing resources to address licensing backlogs.
- Awarded $49.6 million in grants to 54 organizations with primary care residency programs. These grants will support 17 new and expanded programs and create 87 new residency positions.
- Awarded $7.9 million to Public Works Alliance to facilitate the development, implementation, and operations of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) recruitment and training programs across the state. These programs will train at-risk, underrepresented youth for careers in emergency services.
- Awarded $45 million to 11 Healthcare High Road Training Partnerships between community-based organizations, local workforce boards, labor unions, educational institutions, and employers to develop regional workforce strategies for addressing income inequality, economic competitiveness, and climate change.
- Awarded $19.7 million through California’s Employment Training Panel to support job entry and career advancement for entry-level positions and other workers in hospital, primary care, and community healthcare and human service settings.
- Awarded $84 million as a part of High Road Training Partnerships that aim to move underserved populations into better jobs. Projects receiving funding include efforts to scale proven allied healthcare adult training pathways; connect underserved populations with career education, training and skills in high-road, high-demand healthcare career pathways.
- Funded 172 healthcare apprentices in the first year of the Apprenticeship Innovation Funding (AIF), with a total of $316,958 awarded to apprenticeship programs with healthcare occupations such as Registered Nurse, Community Health Worker, Sterile Processing Technician, and Medical Assistant.
To learn more about which programs supported by Workforce for a Healthy California might be right for you, click through the following links. If you are looking for open funding opportunities, visit our Funding Opportunities section.
Workforce for a Healthy California offers grant opportunities to support training providers, community-based organizations, education institutions, and health employers to build and train the health workforce.
- Social Work Initiative
- Psychiatric Provider Program
- Opioid Treatment
- Indian Health Program Grant Restoration
- Community Health Workers/Promotor(a)s/Representatives
- Emergency Medical Services Corps
- High Road Training Partnerships
- English Language Learners Health Careers
- Healthcare Workforce Advancement Fund
- 21st Century Nursing Initiative
For Health Professionals
Workforce for a Healthy California offers loan repayment and certification opportunities to current and prospective health professionals.
More Information About Workforce for a Healthy California
California is experiencing a shortage of health and human services workers, including professionals in behavioral health, primary and specialty care, allied health, nursing, and direct care. An overarching problem, even where staffing challenges are less significant, is the lack of representation and diversity in the current workforce: in race, ethnicity, language spoken, LGBTQ+ status, as well as people with lived experience. Workforce for a Healthy California is meant to respond to (1) a fundamental shortage of workers across multiple disciplines; (2) a lack of diversity in the workforce; and (3) inequities of access to quality care due to a lack of cultural competence in the workforce.
Workforce for a Healthy California is an interagency investment that includes the California Health & Human Services Agency (CalHHS) and the Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA), along with their departments. We are building this investment in partnership with individuals and institutions across the state who are most affected by California’s health and human services workforce challenges. We work with providers, community-based organizations, community colleges and universities, and many others. The collaborative process to organize Workforce for a Healthy California’s component programs has involved feedback from training institutions, healthcare providers, community health workers, and more.
Workforce for a Healthy California can benefit both individuals and organizations currently involved or interested in starting a career in the health and human services sector in California. Training and career development institutions, for example, can take advantage of grant funding to support program operations. Individuals can take advantage of this investment by accessing scholarships, loan repayment opportunities, and career advancement programs. Visit the Resources section to learn more about the programs supported by the Workforce for a Healthy California investment and determine which program is the right fit for you.
Various programs within Workforce for a Healthy California offer engagement opportunities, including listening tours, webinars, surveys, and more.