Health Force Kentucky is a unique collaboration involving nine colleges and universities along with numerous P-12 school districts in sixteen Kentucky counties in an effort to create greater accessibility to the highest levels of instruction and training for careers in health care.

The shortages in health care professionals is a national, if not global, phenomenon that impacts the quality and availability of health care. The Commonwealth of Kentucky chose to invest in an initiative to address this crisis, passing legislation to authorize 38 million dollars.

The post-secondary institutions designated to participate are:

  • Brescia University
  • Kentucky Wesleyan College
  • University of Louisville
  • Western Kentucky University
  • Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
  • Henderson Community College
  • Hopkinsville Community College
  • Madisonville Community College
  • Owensboro Community and Technical College

The P-12 school districts designated to participate are sixteen counties included in the service areas of the participating post-secondary institutions.

There will be a 40,000-square-feet facility in Owensboro, Kentucky that will house high technology simulation labs, classrooms, and a medical lab. This will be available for use by all participating educational entities to provide the highest level of instruction to supplement their in school programing and instruction.

Additionally, HealthForce Kentucky will have a mobile lab that will bring the same technology to the more rural areas of the service area. This mobile lab – “HealthForce One” – will be available for schools to schedule this mobile instruction so that they need not be concerned with a lack of transportation funds.

HealthForce Kentucky will also be employing as many as six representatives to work directly with the P-12 high schools to help them recruit students into the health care professional programs. Each school will have a designated recruiter to assist them in all of their efforts.

As part of the collaboration, the post-secondary institutions and the P-12 districts will work to share instructors and resources to provide more offerings among the districts and post-secondary institutions to expand class availability while also reducing the cost of instruction. As HealthForce Kentucky does not provide any degrees or diplomas, the collaboration with these institutions and usage of shared resources is key in reaching more talented students in the 16-county footprint.

HealthForce Kentucky is a 501(c)(3) corporation. Its board of directors includes representatives from each of the post secondary education institutions, the Executive Director of the educational cooperative representing the P-12 school districts in the region, a member of the Kentucky Nursing Home Association, and the President/CEO of Owensboro Health (which provided the building for the Owensboro facility described herein).

This is a truly innovative approach to education and training and should become the model for other professional and other workforce training.