A woman at a podium speaking
The event opened with remarks by Pam Notemyer Rogers, Senior Vice President, Core Education

Regis College hosted a President’s Workforce Development Council Luncheon on Thursday, April 12, with the goal of enhancing existing partnerships to address significant staffing and workforce shortages in health care in Massachusetts and across New England.

Nineteen local leaders from major health care systems throughout Massachusetts were in attendance, including CVS Health, VA Boston Healthcare, Atrius Health, MassHire, and Boston Public Schools, among others.

Regis College President Antoinette Hays, PhD, RN, cited some dire statistical realities of U.S. health care employers right now.

“176,000 health care workers have left the industry since 2020. Understaffing is now the number one concern for hospital CEOs,” said President Hays. “We live in the medical mecca of our country, and yet I spoke to the head of a local health care system yesterday who told me they have 3,000 job openings.”

A longstanding leader in nursing and health care initiatives, President Hays outlined Regis College’s strategies for combating this shortage.

Most notable was the university’s launch of the Theresa Wood Lavine Division of Professional Studies (DPS), which includes 10 nationally certified online health care programs:

  • Allied Health Professional
  • EKG Technician
  • Health Unit Coordinator
  • Healthcare IT Technician
  • Medical Assistant
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Phlebotomy Technician
  • Physical Therapy Aide
  • Sterile Processing Technician

The DPS also offers three brand new Information Technology career certificates in Data Science, Cyber Security, and Software Development. All 13 programs were designed with flexibility in mind, so potential students with family or work obligations can complete the program on their own time.

According to President Hays, increasing access is one of the keys to building the pipeline of qualified health care workers. The university created the programs to ensure they could be accessible to anyone interested in a career in health care.

“Regis has made a point to develop programs and initiatives based on what the industry tells us is needed, not just what we think is best," said President Hays. “Regis has a storied history of innovating and responding to the needs of the times, providing industry and students with opportunities to grow.”

Here are some additional highlights of the event:

  • Dean of Professional Studies David Rudder, PhD shared Regis’ plan to create a bridge for DPS certificates to eventually become stackable credits that can be applied to a bachelor’s degree completion program through Regis College.
  • A discussion between President Hays and Thomas Clea, Senior HR Regional Recruiter at Steward Health, focused on ways to educate graduating high school students about these alternative pathways to health care careers. Regis College is already partnered with several public school districts in Massachusetts, including Lawrence Public Schools and Boston Public Schools.
  • A discussion about the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic when it comes to hiring health care workers. Common pain points included difficulty in accommodating employee requests to work remotely and low employee morale. This led to a discussion about more community-based events to bring professionals together so they can brainstorm solutions.
  • A lively discussion on the growing pains many human resources departments in health care are currently facing, such as re-educating employers on the need for a college degree in many traditional roles (like medical technician) and how to effectively write job descriptions to attract new talent. Zoie Zaklitsch of MassHire Metro South/West offered support to those present, saying her company had experience and could assist with rewriting job descriptions to attract new talent to health care jobs.

Learn more about the programs offered through the Theresa Wood Lavine Division of Professional Studies at Regis College.