Polk County Provides $1 Million To New Health Care Workforce Collaborative

February 22, 2023

The Polk County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday announced a $1 million grant for the creation of a new Health Care Workforce Collaborative in Central Iowa. The funds will have a direct impact on recruiting and retaining a vibrant health care workforce in Central Iowa.

The $1 million investment will jump-start a collaborative effort between educators and the health care community to encourage and connect students interested in a health care career with educational and employment opportunities among the Polk County partners. The initial funding will be used for community outreach and staffing of the Polk County Health Care Workforce Collaborative. Partners include; Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), Grand View University, Des Moines University, Mercy College of Health, Broadlawns, MercyOne and UnityPoint Health-Des Moines.

Dr. Carl Moses, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Grand View University, says "Education is the first step in ensuring a strong and sustainable healthcare workforce. We are proud to collaborate with institutions that usually compete with each other and are instead working together to solve this community problem. We look forward to engaging more future students and showing them the amazing career opportunities that healthcare offers and attracting those students into healthcare educational programs. This collaboration will help students and Polk County succeed."

Polk County Board Chair Tom Hockensmith says, “We felt very strongly that funds made available from ARPA should be used in a collaborative and strategic manner. We knew that there were tremendous challenges in the health care workforce and we are so thankful that each of the partners here took the collaboration part of this seriously, the only way to solve big problems like health care workforce, is to do it together.”

While other institutes of higher learning will be partners in the Health Care Workforce Collaborative, DMACC will serve in the administrative role of the program. “DMACC is proud to be part of the new Health Care Workforce Collaborative, which will help ensure an increase in the number of students enrolled in health care education,” said DMACC President Rob Denson. “In Central Iowa, there are many great educational opportunities and in-demand careers available for individuals who are interested in health care. This unique collaborative will help educational institutions connect students with employers, supporting both long-term student success and the critical needs of our healthcare community.”

The Polk County Health Care Workforce Collaborative is currently looking for staff to fulfill this mission. To learn more, watch the full announcement here.