September 2018

Building an Inclusive Health Workforce in California: A Statewide Policy Agenda

Overview

An equitable and inclusive health-care workforce in California—one that reflects the state’s racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity and offers all Californians a chance at a meaningful job—is not only a moral obligation but also an urgent economic imperative. Increasing diversity in the health sector will also be critical for improving health and eliminating racial inequities through the provision of culturally appropriate services for all communities. As the demand for health-care workers continues to increase nationally, this trend plays out significantly in California, a state that employs over 1.3 million health workers and is projected to need an additional 450,000 by 2020. However, longstanding structural inequities in education, workforce training, and employment access create serious barriers that prevent many Californians, particularly people of color, from benefiting from the emerging training and job opportunities. This report explores the powerful trends driving demand for health-care workers, the key equity challenges to filling these gaps; and a robust set of strategies and specific policies that state leaders can undertake to foster a more inclusive health workforce.