Pathways aim to address critical need for expanded community-based public health workforce through free statewide online platform, My Colorado Journey
February 23,2021 (Denver, CO) – Trailhead Institute, the Colorado Public Health Workforce Collaborative (The Collaborative) and the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC) have today announced the launch of public health career pathways – the first strategic “career ladder” initiative dedicated to the field of public health. Accessible through My Colorado Journey, a resourceful statewide online platform, public health career pathways aim to address the critical need for an expanded, highly-skilled public health workforce and nurture increased awareness of the field of public health, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Identifying three pathways within the public health field– public health, environmental health and administration – Trailhead and its partners engaged workforce and academic partners from across the state to develop skills-based pathways that connect individuals to work, education, support services exploration and action planning through My Colorado Journey. Users who access the free online platform can gain insight into the public health industry and explore more than 100 occupations within the field progressing from entry to advance-level positions. With each occupation users can view role descriptions, salary, knowledge, skill and ability requirements, gaining a thorough understanding of the unique pathways available in public health.
Building upon the State of Colorado’s September announcement of a new collaborative partnership formed to train thousands of new healthcare apprentices to support the state’s immediate efforts to contain COVID-19’s spread, the pathways will support continued exploration of career opportunities in public health now and post-pandemic. Emphasizing the value of true lived experience and skills-based entry into the public health field, the pathways will serve as a model for expanding a community-based public health workforce nationally while supporting the implementation of new “career ladder” programs such as public health pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship and mentorship programs that align career objectives with practical experience as one advances to leadership positions within the field. This finally gives us a tool for those interested in public health to understand what types of skills and jobs the field holds. The pathways will be updated quarterly.
“As the need for additional public health workers became clear, it was also clear that we needed a way for partners to come together to support the new workforce. The Collaborative has brought together partners from across the fields of public health and workforce development in a way that we have not seen in Colorado or across the country,” said Sarah Lampe, Executive Director of Trailhead Institute. “As the pandemic has continued for nearly a year now, we have also identified a need to support the existing public health workforce as the field is experiencing unprecedented burnout and turnover. We envision this partnership supporting those who have entered the public health workforce throughout the pandemic to remain engaged in the field while also supporting the existing workforce with pathways to advance their work in public health.”
As the Biden-Harris Administration calls for the creation of a United States Public Health Workforce Program to mobilize at least 100,000 people to conduct culturally-responsive containment outreach and engagement, the intentional building of public health pathways highlights the focus the State of Colorado is placing on careers in public health and ensuring Colorado has a ready workforce when there are emergencies. As the nation recognizes a highly-skilled, well-funded public health workforce is integral to economic recovery and community well-being, Colorado is well positioned to lead the way in not only training but advancing case investigators, contact tracers and resource coordinators within the public health field.
For more information on My Colorado Journey and to explore the public health career pathways, please visit https://www.mycoloradojourney.com/journey/tools/careers/public-health.