Drivers of Change in the Health Care Workforce

The Affordable Care Act and the Massachusetts Cost Containment legislation are two major factors that are changing health care jobs in the state. These initiatives coupled with an aging population and rapid technological advances are affecting education, work assignments and the supply of health care employees. The demand for such employees in the workforce is high, but there are obstacles in the way.

Many front-line health care workers lack the basic skills for admission into post-secondary health care programs. Even when admitted into programs, the deficiencies in literacy and numeracy make graduation very difficult. This creates a barrier to the professional world that can be too much for many aspiring health care employees to overcome.


HealthcareWorks serves to lend a hand in this plight. The organization engages community colleges, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and community health centers in the education of front-line health care workers and those not working in health care. This helps to make sure that these budding health care professionals have the necessary skills and are able to contribute as strong members of the patient care team.

The Health Care Learning Network™

Health care employers have demanded a new education model that fits the culture and practices of the organization within the health care industry. Health care supervisors and managers, community college educators, and adult education experts collaborated on the design of the Health Care Learning Network™ (HCLN™).

HCLN™ is a web-based, instructor-facilitated, health care contextualized college preparatory program. Since Fall 2007, almost 600 individuals have become HCLN™ Scholars and 192 have enrolled in college. Because it is web-based, HCLN™ dramatically increases the availability of college preparatory coursework, thus boosting the number of people capable of entering college and, eventually, health care fields. This online education provides the foundational knowledge students need for college graduation and licensing.

HLCN™ increases students’ knowledge of the human body, understanding of medical terminology, capacity to solve problems and basic abilities in math and reading. This broad education gives students the tools to become more productive employees.

Four courses combine academic and experiential learning while incorporating critical thinking and problem solving.

  • Computers for College
  • Preparation for Health Care Careers (reading and writing)
  • Health Math
  • Health Science

Major Contributors to HCLN™ Design

  • Commonwealth Corporation
  • Kindred Healthcare, Inc.
  • Greater Lowell Workforce Investment Board
  • Massachusetts 1199SEIU Training & Upgrading Fund
  • MetroWest Medical Center
  • North Shore Medical Center
  • North Shore Workforce Investment Board
  • Partnerships for a Skilled Workforce
  • The Boston Foundation
  • UMass Memorial Medical Group
  • World Education, Inc.

The program is just right for me. It is what I need to get ready to go to the next level. My goal is to become a nurse or radiology tech. Thanks for the program to help with the transition and preparation for college.

HCLN™ Scholar

HCLN™ has been very helpful. HCLN™ boosted my confidence to perform better for the CPT (college placement test) exam.


HCLN™ has been a great experience. Perfect for my busy schedule and because of the way the course runs and the teachers, I didn't quit. They kept me motivated from the first time I started.


The teacher has good knowledge of the course. He is always available to help the students.



Board of Directors

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Sylvia Beville, Executive Director

Henry Bryson, Director – Health Care Learning Network™

Jeff Childs, Career Specialist at Waltham High School

Linda Curtis, Career Specialist at Framingham High School

Lisa De Palo, Career Specialist at Natick High School

Kelley French, Program Director – Young Adult Employment Initiative

Jan Iacovelli, Program Assistant

Cindy McComiskey, Manager of Administrative Services

Patty St. Hilaire, Career Specialist at Future Skills Institute

Ashley Waddicor, Career Specialist at Marlborough High School