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Coalition Looks At Ways To Expand City's Healthcare Workforce

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Despite a sluggish economy the healthcare industry continues to grow, and now city officials are hoping to capitalize on the trend, especially as demand grows with more New Yorkers gaining access to health insurance. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.

Huddled around a table in City Hall, members of the health care community are working on a game plan to address the growing needs of an aging population and the million more New Yorkers soon to gain access to health insurance through the federal Affordable Care Act.

"We really think that there is a tremendously significant potential to put people to work," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Quinn, who is in the contentious race for mayor, announced the creation of the Health Employment Coalition during her State of the City Address. The group met for the first time last week.

"The conversation today is, how we can structure programs so that we can get the most [jobs]. And how do you tier those programs so that folks that are in Healthcare right now can move up and we can bring new folks in as well," Quinn said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 23,000 healthcare jobs were added to the national economy in March alone: 6,800 were in-home health care services.

There are already 150,000 home health care workers in the city, but that need is expected to increase 48 percent by 2020.

As of March, home health aide company Partners in Care trained and hired over 12,000 employees, up from 6,500 in 2008.

"We've gone from hiring about 220 a month to this year our goal is to hire 370 per month. In New York City we've seen hospitals consolidating and closing. We've seen government ask for more services for less money. As that naturally occurs we've had much more demand for our services," said Partners in Care Vice President of Human Resources Jay Conolly.

Getting people into those jobs will be a priority of the coalition. It's also the focus of a City Council summit Monday. Partners in Care aides start at around $9.50 an hour. Conolly says one way to get more workers serving communities in need is to target more government dollars to these positions.

"They need to recognize what these workers do every single day, 365 days a year," Conolly noted. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP