Strengthening Career Pathways & Promoting Equity in the Health Care & Social Assistance Sector. 

The global pandemic produced unprecedented disruption to regional and state economies and the lives of individuals and families across the nation. New York State’s largest industry – Health Care and Social Assistance industry (HCSA) – is still working to recover. NYS identified an urgent need and established a goal to increase its health care workforce by 20% in five years. Community colleges in the State University of New York (SUNY) system will play a primary role in addressing this challenge.


Our five-part plan to strengthen HCSA career pathways:

  1. Form a HCSA Community of Practice
  2. Formalize a cross-regional employer engagement team leveraging existing strategic employer partners
  3. Pilot and recommend for adoption prior learning assessment (PLA) to accelerate HCSA pathways
  4. Develop agreements to create stackable credentials and enhance and accelerate HCSA pathway programs
  5. Introduce evidence-based, equity- and industry-informed HCSA pathway recruitment materials, resources, and career selection supports with public workforce and employer partners

These efforts will close equity gaps in the number of low-income individuals and marginalized populations entering and completing HCSA pathway programs and earning industry-recognized credentials leading to HCSA employment to increase equity, and effect sustainable systems change.

Institution Consortium Partners

Capacity Building Outcome #1

Develop, pilot, recommend for adoption common PLA tools, methods of assessment, and credit values to be awarded by consortium colleges for targeted HCSA career pathway programs and for consideration by other SUNY colleges to promote transparency, portability, equity, and accelerated entry/advancement in HCSA career paths.

Capacity Building Outcome #2

New stackable pathways established via agreements to articulate, embed, or jointly develop or deliver industry-recognized credentials, or facilitate shared development of resources to accelerate pathways and increase access to HCSA programs, courses, credentials, experiences using multiple modalities and technologies, such as virtual reality.

Capacity Building Outcome #3

Structure, evidence-based, equity- and industry- informed, “customer-centered” career pathway recruitment, onboarding pathway selection resources and supports will be developed and piloted by Consortium colleges with involvement by employers, public workforce, and non-profit partners.

Equity Outcome #1

Increase the number of low-income individuals (including new workers, low-wage incumbent workers, and URM populations) enrolled in industry-recognized, stackable health care and social assistance career pathway programs across partner SUNY colleges.

Equity Outcome #2

Increase the percentage of low-income students enrolled in pathway programs who complete programs, including apprenticeships, short-term credentials, and associate degree programs, and other industry-recognized credentials required for targeted jobs.


Contact Marianne NieseAssistant Dean of Health and Community Services.