Rep. Axne Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Bring Health Career Training Program to Iowa, Train Next Generation of Health Care Workers

October 18, 2021
Press Release
Pathways to Health Careers Act would support and expand successful health career skills training program, ease worker shortages

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) announced her support and co-sponsorship of legislation to expand health career skills training programs and address shortages of health care workers in Iowa.

The Pathways to Health Careers Act would expand and improve the Health Profession Opportunity Grant Program (HPOG), which provides career pathways to Americans while also addressing workforce shortages in high-skilled fields like nursing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by next year, the U.S. will need to hire 1.1 million new registered nurses (RNs) to replace retirements and avoid a nursing shortage.

“Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen just how critical it is to have trusted, trained health care professionals caring for those in need. That’s why we must redouble our work to connect Iowans with the skills and supports they need to land a good-paying job and grow a career in the health care field,” said Rep. Axne. “This commonsense legislation not only makes sure we continue to invest in our workers, but also helps address health workforce shortages that only stand to worsen without action. I’m proud to join my colleagues in this bipartisan effort to strengthen and expand opportunities for careers in the health care industry.”

Since it was first authorized in 2010, the HPOG program has funded 32 health care job training programs that help connect low-income workers with skills trainings to land in-demand jobs.

The bipartisan legislation backed by Axne would provide the authorization and funding to bring this successful program to Iowa and other states without a current grantee. HPOG currently has grantees in 21 states.

The Pathways to Health Careers Act would also improve the HPOG program by:

  • Ensuring community colleges, technical colleges, and other institutions of higher education remain eligible grantees
  • Prioritizing applications that train healthcare workers in rural communities
  • Requiring training programs using federal funds meet state and industry standards.
  • Providing technical assistance with grant applications, implementation, and reporting to ensure grants are administered fairly and effectively

Rep. Axne has consistently supported skills training programs that connect Iowans with good-paying jobs in high-demand fields. 

The Transition for Success Actintroduced by Rep. Axne in July, would provide SkillBridge skills training and employment assistance to members of the National Guard and Reserve. 

Rep. Axne’s legislation was recently included as a part of this year’s defense policy bill passed by the House.