Healthcare Laboratory Workforce Initiative

Spearheaded by the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, in conjunction with the California Hospital Association, the Healthcare Laboratory Workforce Initiative (HLWI) was created to find innovative solutions to the laboratory workforce shortage.

In addition to the statewide and regional hospital associations, major healthcare systems, laboratory manufacturers, independent laboratories, professional associations, government entities, and the California community college and state university systems are all participating on the Advisory Group for this Initiative.

The Advisory Group develops and implements strategies in these priority areas:

  • Ensuring financial stability for Clinical Laboratory Science and Medical Laboratory Technician training programs;
  • Promoting the laboratory profession;
  • Building educational capacity and support for collaboration and the sharing of resources; and
  • Speaking with one voice on the issues that influence the regulatory environment in which laboratories operate.

The goal of the HLWI is to increase the number of licensed Clinical Laboratory Scientists (CLS) and Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLTs) in California in order to meet the demand for such workers across industry sectors. To accomplish this goal the HLWI has launched the “Creating a Future Laboratory Workforce” campaign. Major contributors have included the Abbott Fund and Beckman Coulter, Inc.

With the funding received, the HLWI established the CLS/MLT Training Grants Program. This Program gives small grants for innovative and creative projects that will increase the number of licensed CLS or MLTs, or sustain training programs in the State of California.

The HLWI played a lead role in the implementation of licensure for MLTs in California and then created a MLT “tool kit” with information and a sample job description for hospitals.

In addition, the HLWI works to raise the public’s awareness of the laboratory workforce shortage and the valuable contributions that laboratory professionals provide everyday, help laboratory training programs to collaborate and share resources; and increase the number of and support for clinical training sites.