Healthcare Advisory Summit Seeks to Streamline Processes for Industry and Education

For a healthcare employer in Ventura County, meeting with colleges used to be a little like the movie “Groundhog Day.”

Each institution had its own advisory meeting that largely consisted of the same discussions and topics. John Bone Cordova saw an opportunity to change that, and took it.

The result was the Healthcare Advisory Solutions Summit, which brought together education and industry for a discussion on how to move forward in a way that makes sense while complying with all funding and education code requirements.

Cordova is the South Central Coast Regional Consortium (SCCRC) Deputy Sector Navigator - Health and Health Workforce Initiative Regional Director. He was instrumental in making the summit happen in partnership with the Ventura County Office of Education VC Innovates project and Ventura County Workforce Development Board, Healthcare Committee.

“One person from industry might be invited to 6-8 different advisory meetings,” Cordova said. “With this event, we wanted to bring them together at one time allowing them to give their voice on programs and give us, educators, an update on job trends, changes in employment, and their future workforce needs.”

About 75 people attended the event from colleges, high schools, and healthcare employers throughout Ventura County. The program included a keynote address by Dr. Josh Luke, known as “The Voice of American Healthcare,” and opportunities for small group discussion.

"It was a true honor to present to and collaborate with community leaders to identify opportunities that in many cases already existed to collaborate," Luke said.

Keynote Speaker Dr. John Luke

Luke, a former hospital CEO, best selling author and internationally renowned healthcare futurist, had never facilitated a conversation of this nature and was impressed by the innovation and passion the group brought to the conversation.

"I teach graduate students in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and I saw the same type of enthusiasm and creativity from all types of community providers in Ventura that we strive for in each of our classes at USC. I look forward to collaborating further with this group and others throughout my home state of California!"

Bringing everyone together allowed for connections that would not have happened at individual college meetings. Irene Ornelas, Industry Liaison for VC Innovates, experienced one of those moments.

“At one point, I met one of the Nursing program instructors from one of the local community colleges; I then was able to take a moment to introduce her to two instructors from our high school Certified Nursing Assistant program,” Ornelas said. “The instructor was excited to meet them and make a connection as she knows these high school students are her future nursing students.”

Greg Barnes, Director of Environmental Health and Safety at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center and Chair for the Ventura County Workforce Development Board Healthcare Committee, also found the event to be worthwhile.

“The discussion at the industry table was productive and I connected with a Ventura College District rep and a potential business partner to join our healthcare committee,” Barnes said.

Internships and externships were one of the topics discussed at the meeting. Some programs are required to have an internship/ externship component as part of the deliverable to receive state funding, but there’s not currently a clear definition and/or consistency in what that experience entails.

Bringing clarity and consistency to the internship/ externship process will help make things less confusing for students and the employers who are managing these internships/ externships, Cordova said. “We want to avoid conflicts with current clinical requirements in allied health and nursing programs.

Ventura County Emergency Preparedness Manager Dan Wall said the summit provided opportunity for conversation about how to shape the future of healthcare in the region.

“Mentoring the next generation is our responsibility and finding opportunities for them is our highest calling,” Wall said. “The event brought together industry leaders that contribute to the future of our students for future generations. We look forward to this event in the years to come to maintain our connection with the future. ”


The unified approach taken at the summit also allows for collective bargaining among participating schools. Employers are not forced to choose between them or remember what arrangements were made in order to keep things equitable.

“We wanted to create a model where everyone can collaborate and problem solve on the spot,” Cordova said. “Industry can streamline its processes and not be in a position where they have to compromise relationships and partnerships with education.

Marybeth Jacobsen, President of the Workforce Education Coalition, said the summit filled a communication need she’s seen for a long time.

“There is significant value to employers in brainstorming about workforce needs but little opportunity for those conversations to actually take place,” Jacobsen said. “This was the first conference I’ve attended that gave industry members the opportunity to speak with each other about emerging training needs.”

Cordova hopes to make the summit a biannual meeting, and replicate throughout the South Central Coast region in other counties. While many industry and education partners embraced the idea, there are some who he’s hoping will come on board for a future event.

“We want to ease the transition to a uniform discussion rather than a one-to-one discussion for industry with education in a one-stop shop type forum,” Cordova said. We want to show them how by streamlining the process, everyone will meet their advisory needs and get the feedback they need.”

Ornelas said already sees the value in the combined approach.

“As the health industry grows, it simply doesn’t make sense to ask industry leaders to share their valuable input with educational programs on a one to one basis,” Ornelas said. “My hope is that we will be able to continue with this sort of one stop countywide education advisory meeting driven by industry versus multiple advisory meetings driven by education.”


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