WILMINGTON — A former local superintendent was recently appointed to a state position to help bridge gaps in the health care workforce.
A collaborative effort among Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, NC Chamber Foundation, North Carolina Area Health Education Center and South East Area Health Education Center has created the state’s first regional talent pipeline manager for North Carolina Talent Alliance.
Steven Hill was named to the position, specializing in health care.
Wilmington Chamber president and CEO Natalie English said in a press release Hill’s appointment “represents a groundbreaking leap forward” for North Carolina.
“With his well-established track record in educational leadership and community engagement, paired with our data-centric approach we are poised to eradicate healthcare talent shortages and forge a sustainable, statewide talent pipeline,” she added.
Hill assumed the role of superintendent of Pender County Schools from 2017 to 2022 before transitioning to the position of executive director of the Greater Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce.
During his tenure with Pender County Schools, Hill’s leadership heralded an era of transformation, culminating in the historic recognition of Pender Early College as a National Blue Ribbon School. In the 2020-2021 school year, Pender County Schools ranked 11th in education performance in the state, and 104th in overall funding out of 117 districts.
The NC Health Talent Alliance — with a goal to eliminate health care shortages and build a comprehensive statewide data backbone — will establish regional, employer-driver partnerships to collect and analyze real-time data on healthcare talent demand, according to English.
The initiative aims to create a sustainable talent pipeline for health care.
“The NC Health Talent Alliance marks a pioneering statewide endeavor committed to tackling North Carolina’s pressing healthcare talent deficits,” she said in the release. “This collaborative effort will nurture public-private alliances, identify training deficiencies, and provide support for individuals seeking to complete essential healthcare training.”
Hill’s groundbreaking role is the first of its kind, which English said will prove pivotal in guaranteeing the success of these partnerships and propelling talent development within the healthcare sector.
“Health care is a bedrock economic sector in North Carolina and requires a strong, sustainable workforce,” president of the NC Chamber Foundation Meredith Archie said in the release. “The Wilmington Chamber has stepped up to engage its health care community and lead on solutions to address this critical need for the region. We look forward to partnering in this effort and providing support through the proven Talent Pipeline Management framework.”
North Carolina Area Health Education Centers director Hugh Tilson said in the release existing healthcare shortages were worsened by the pandemic.
There is a statewide undersupply of healthcare professionals, specifically registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, further exacerbated by an aging population, retirements in the health care sector and the need for Medicaid expansion. The talent pipeline will mobilize local and regional employers, educators and leaders to address these challenges.
“Wilmington area stakeholders and leadership had already been working toward identifying workforce solutions in the health care sector so it was an ideal location for a pilot program,” Tilson said in the release. “The TPM program provides them with a major tool—a framework—which will help them organize employers locally and regionally to meet the region’s health workforce needs.”
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