Press Release: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Hitachi Foundation Receive Council on Foundations 2010 Critical Impact Award

Published apr. 27, 2010

DENVER, April 27, 2010 – The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and The Hitachi Foundation today received the Critical Impact Award during the annual conference of the Council on Foundations. The two foundations collaborated on the launch and support of a national initiative that addresses the needs of low wage health care workers while inspiring innovations in job training, career advancement and health care delivery. The Critical Impact Award honors RWJF and The Hitachi Foundation for making a difference in their grantmaking while providing an example of how philanthropy seeks to enhance the common good.

Jobs to Careers: Promoting Work-Based Learning for Quality Care supports 17 partnerships of employers, educational institutions and other community based organizations. The partnerships focus on creating systems to advance and reward the skill and career development of frontline health and health care workers. The $15.3 million initiative is managed by Boston-based Jobs for the Future and is also supported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration.

“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a long history of investing in the people that comprise the health and health care workforce. Skilled frontline workers are an essential element in the equation of quality health care for everyone,” noted Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO.

“Frontline workers compose the majority of all health care workers and have more contact with patients than any other sector of the health care work force. The rewards of career training and opportunity extend far beyond the frontline workers to employers, health care institutions and the clients they serve. Jobs to Careers answers two of the most pivotal demands for our nation’s economic recovery: sustainable employment and health reform,” Lavizzo-Mourey concluded.

“As the heated health care debate dominated the nation, these sites -- representing everything from community clinics to long-term care to acute care hospitals -- were working hard to create solutions,” said Barbara Dyer, president and CEO, The Hitachi Foundation. “Ultimately, quality, affordable care cannot be achieved without skilled workers and effective workplaces. These sites are developing work-based learning approaches applicable to the millions of men and women working on the front lines; providing them not merely jobs, but meaningful careers.”

More than six million people work in frontline occupations. Collectively this segment is growing faster (32.6%) than the growth rate of all health and health care occupations (28.3%), and significantly faster than the growth rate for all occupations (14.8%) in the United States workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One-third of frontline workers are part of a racial minority (18 percent African American, 10 percent Hispanic and 4 percent Asian) and 79 percent of the workforce is female. Their ranks include but are not limited to medical assistants, health educators, laboratory technicians, substance abuse counselors, and home health aides.

Jobs to Careers’ grantee projects have produced returns for employers and created career path opportunities for an estimated 726 workers over the past four years.

About Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change.

About The Hitachi Foundation

The Hitachi Foundation is an independent nonprofit philanthropic organization established by Hitachi, Ltd. in 1985. The Foundation’s mission is to forge an authentic integration of business actions and societal wellbeing in North America.

About Council on Foundations

The Council on Foundations is a national nonprofit association of approximately 2,000 grantmaking foundations and corporations.

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future works with our partners to design and drive adoption of education and career pathways leading from college readiness to career advancement for those struggling to succeed in today’s economy.
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