Washington Statewide Office of Rural Health, lead by the efforts of the Western Washington Area Health Education Center, has been awarded a planning grant to integrate military veterans with healthcare employment experience into the civilian healthcare workforce.
Washington State is 10th in the nation for the number of returning veterans reentering the civilian workforce. At Joint Base Lewis McCord returning soldiers are re-entering civilian life at a rate of 600 per month for the next 5 years. Many of the returning veterans have been trained in a healthcare field. Of those returning 32% are unemployed. Of those Veterans returning with specific skills, education and experience in healthcare 39% are unemployed. In June 2012, at the Washington State Hospital Association’s (WSHA) rural hospital conference, interest by rural hospital administrators in employing veterans was overwhelmingly positive.
The Steering committee will identify intermediate steps needed for successful reintegration of armed forces personnel from military service into the civilian healthcare workforce. Identified steps may include: career counseling, job shadowing opportunities, refresher courses, retraining or bridge courses, and identifying general licensure/certification issues that may need to be addressed for veterans to have a smooth transition from military service to rural healthcare employment.
Contact Western Washington Area Health Education Center (www.wwahec.org) for more information.