“Perfect Storm” Prompts FL DOH to Open Workforce Office

By Nancy Maddox, MPH

Recent news from the Florida Department of Health (DOH) offers hope that upper echelon government leaders are waking up to a looming public health workforce crisis.

A Florida DOH brief notes that the agency is approaching a “’perfect storm’ in maintaining a competent workforce,” given a wave of retirements, noncompetitive wages, an ill-prepared pool of applicants and job-related stresses that compound hiring difficulties.

The brief wisely notes, “In times of funding constraints and reductions, there is an even greater need for a better educated workforce that is always learning the most efficient and effective methods of running state government.”

They do seem to understand the situation.

In response to these concerns, the agency has created a special workforce development office to assess and improve workforce competencies. In fact, the office’s task list includes some of the activities carried out by APHL’s own training programs and National Center for Public Health Laboratory Leadership (albeit for a broader state public health workforce), so we know it is on the right track:

• Establishing succession plans, mentoring programs and an in-house leadership program.
• Maintaining a catalogue of state trainers and training resources.
• Sharing best practices across divisions.
• Developing self-paced training modules.
• Coordinating development of a first-in-the-nation clinical management practice institute and training program and a first-in-the-nation financial administration certification program.

We hope the state’s efforts will translate into real improvements for the Florida Bureau of Laboratories.

Those interested in more information can contact Shannon Hughes, workforce development director, at 850.245.4444, ext. 3409 or Shannon_Hughes@doh.state.fl.us.

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