A $54,000 grant awarded to the national nonprofit Credential Engine by the National Science Foundation will help the organization begin addressing COVID-19-related unemployment and health care worker shortages for the state of New York.
This funding will be used to identify and map out education credentials, specifically those in health care training programs, to help employers seek out workers with the correct skills to fill open roles within their organization, according to a press release.
The information will be published to Credential Engine’s online credential library, the Credential Registry. Currently, the Credential Registry has information about more than 15,000 credentials, including nearly 2,500 in health care.
Melinda Mack, executive director of the New York Association of Training and Employee Professionals, said in the press release that they reached out to Credential Engine during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic because of how vitally important it was to bridge the gaps for employers searching for talent.
“This grant will play a critical role in enabling New Yorkers to understand and navigate programs that offer the skills and training they need to quickly re-enter the workforce, particularly in our most in-demand health care fields and beyond,” Mack said.
New York was hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In late March, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was among the state governors who put out calls for help nationwide, like asking for out-of-state nurses and doctors to come treat patients in New York’s hospitals, which were facing staffing shortages. In April, 1.4 million U.S. health care workers lost their jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now, in June, as the state reopens, more and more people are going to be looking for work or returning to work.
To create greater transparency in the credentialing industry, Credential Engine will partner with both the NYATEP and the Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions to ensure their programs are included in the registry. The Workforce Development Institute and the Business Council of New York State have also partnered with Credential Engine to give job seekers, workers and employers access to resources and information.
“The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the need for better, open data about credentials, the competencies and skills they convey, and how they successfully connect workers and students with employers and jobs,” said Scott Cheney, executive director of Credential Engine. “With millions of people looking to get back to work that doesn’t look exactly like it did at the start of the year, it’s time to improve pathway and navigation tools and make them as easy to use as other online services.”