Chicago Health Systems Join Forces to Promote Careers in Healthcare across West and South Sides

Advocate Aurora Health, Sinai Chicago and University of Chicago Medicine announce collaboration on workforce development initiative
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 11:00 AM EST

CHICAGO, Nov. 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Advocate Aurora Health, Sinai Chicago and University of Chicago Medicine today announced Healthcare Forward, part of the systems' Bridge Initiative Chicago partnership to promote healthcare careers. Healthcare Forward offers free training and the guarantee of a job interview to people in economically distressed communities who may have never considered a career in the healthcare field.

Healthcare Forward ( is focused on recruiting individuals – particularly those on the West and South Sides of Chicago – for a wide range of entry-level jobs in healthcare that require only a high school diploma or GED equivalent. The program is accepting registrations for a no-cost, six-hour career-readiness course that can be taken online or in person. After completion, individuals are guaranteed an interview at one of the three participating health systems.

"There can be a misperception that a career in healthcare requires advanced degrees and lots of technical training," said Debra Wesley, president, Sinai Community Institute, at Sinai Chicago. "In truth, healthcare systems need all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds with a range of skill sets."

The Healthcare Forward course provides an orientation of healthcare career paths and hospital operations, and examines factors that contribute to success in the job application process and the job itself.

"By offering this course and guaranteeing job interviews, we're removing roadblocks and demystifying the application process so that more people can begin rewarding careers helping others in their own communities," said Jerry Baake, manager, workforce development, at Advocate Aurora Health.

"The opportunity to turn a job into a lifelong career that provides personal fulfillment and financial security starts with a foot in the door. This initiative provides that step in," said Betsy Rahill, director, talent strategy at UChicago Medicine. "Healthcare Forward is about reaching out to communities and exclaiming: 'We need you in healthcare!'"

Healthcare Forward is the community track component of Bridge Initiative Chicago, a workforce development partnership created by the three health systems with a grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. The two other components are Evolve, the incumbent track that helps current employees of the three healthcare systems advance their careers; and Rise Higher, the emerging leadership track that assists employees as they pursue management positions.

Advocate Aurora Health is one of the 12 largest not-for-profit, integrated health systems in the United States and a leading employer in the Midwest with 75,000 employees, including more than 22,000 nurses and the region's largest employed medical staff and home health organization. A national leader in clinical innovation, health outcomes, consumer experience and value-based care, the system serves nearly 3 million patients annually in Illinois and Wisconsin across more than 500 sites of care. Advocate Aurora is engaged in hundreds of clinical trials and research studies and is nationally recognized for its expertise in cardiology, neurosciences, oncology and pediatrics.

Sinai Chicago is a Chicago-based private, not-for-profit organization, and the largest private safety net hospital system in Illinois. It includes seven member organizations serving the West and Southwest Sides; Mount Sinai Hospital, Holy Cross Hospital, Sinai Children's Hospital, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, Sinai Medical Group, Sinai Community Institute and Sinai Urban Health Institute. The system has 3,500 employees, over 800 physicians on its hospital medical staffs, 654 licensed beds, 100,000+ annual emergency department patient visits and eight physician residency training programs. 

The University of Chicago Medicine, with a history dating to 1927, is a not-for-profit academic medical health system based on the campus of the University of Chicago in Hyde Park, and with hospitals, outpatient clinics and physician practices throughout Chicagoland.. UChicago Medicine unites five organizations to fulfill its tripartite mission of medical education, research and patient care: Pritzker School of Medicine, Biological Sciences Division, Medical Center, Community Health and Hospital Division, and UChicago Medicine Physicians. Together with Harvey-based Ingalls Memorial, UChicago Medicine has 1,296 licensed beds, nearly 1,300 attending physicians, over 2,800 nurses and about 970 residents and fellows.

Michael McGrath
Wyn-Win Communications
For Healthcare Forward

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