Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Kentucky Healthcare Workforce Collaborative

Nursing students
Photo credit: Shutterstock.

According to state officials, Kentucky is operating at 12 percent to 20 percent short of needed nursing staff, and the state is projected to need more than 16,000 additional nurses by 2024. Shortages such as this, coupled with the high prevalence of Kentucky residents with multiple chronic conditions, make it a state imperative to improve and expand the state's cadre of frontline health care professionals.

However, Kentucky's colleges and universities are facing several challenges to address these gaps.

How the Collaborative Will Help

Kentucky's Healthcare Workforce Collaborative (HWC) is a $10 million initiative funded by the legislature to bring together state leaders, policy experts, campus leadership and the health care industry to solve Kentucky's health care crisis.

The appropriation, designated in the 2022 budget bill and to be administered by the Council, will serve several purposes:

The HWC, made up of CPE staff, policy experts, state leaders and representatives from the campuses and health care industry, guides distribution of the funds. To gauge the initiative's success, each year the Council will provide a comprehensive report to state leaders by Dec. 1 each year. The fund, in future, may receive additional state appropriations, grants, gifts, federal funds or any other public or private funds.

CLIMB Health

The Career Ladders in Mental and Behavioral Health (CLIMB-Health) is an HWC initiative focused on  creating postsecondary pathways at KCTCS for individuals in recovery/reentry seeking entry-level employment as peer specialists. These include

Guiding Legislation and Documentation

Healthcare Workforce Collaborative

Healthcare Workforce Investment Fund

HWC Advisory Group

To increase success of the HWC's efforts, the Council convenes an HWC Advisory Group. This group, consisting of college faculty, state leaders and members of the health care sector, will devise short-term and long-term strategies to strengthen the workforce pipeline. Beyond facilitating important conversations between campuses and the health care industry,  the HWC Advisory Group also reviews the effectiveness of current campus- and state-level programs to assist HWC decision-making.


Healthcare Sector

Postsecondary Institutions

Government/Citizen Partners

Infographic showing the higher the credential, the less likely healthcare majors remain in Kentucky.


Last Updated: 10/31/2023