Employment and Jobs

Transforming Health Care Workforce Development

June 29, 2022  • Economic Opportunities Program & Daniel Bustillo

A Profile of Job Quality Fellow Daniel Bustillo, Executive Director, The Healthcare Career Advancement Program

Photo of Daniel Bustillo

“If we do not confront the links between systemic racism and sexism and the poor job quality that millions of caregivers experience each day, the United States will not solve the care crisis in the transformational way that older adults, people with disabilities, and the workers who care for them so urgently need,” says Daniel Bustillo, Executive Director of The Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP). H-CAP is a national labor-management organization of SEIU union locals and employers with a mission to transform health care workforce development and to support highly valued caregivers to better meet the need for quality care in a rapidly changing industry.

H-CAP’s labor-management training partnership network spans 16 states plus the District of Columbia. The partnership works with 550,000 workers and 1,000 employers, enabling the majority-women and BIPOC frontline health care workforce access to education and training benefits that are collectively bargained. According to Daniel, H-CAP’s aim is “to promote job quality and equity for the health care workforce through high-road training partnerships and workforce development strategies that focus on the intersection of equity, job quality, and educational attainment.”

H-CAP’s job quality strategy rests on innovative training programs, sharing and scaling best practices, and policy advocacy. Programming is focused on providing training, negotiated through collective bargaining, to health care workers to help them advance to other opportunities or be more successful in their current jobs. H-CAP has been a national leader in developing apprenticeship programs in the health care industry, building programs for an array of occupations with its partners. For programs it funds, H-CAP sets specific training and employment goals for BIPOC workers in its contracts.

H-CAP’s approach in designing training is participatory and “directly considers the voice of workers and adult learners who too often have limited agency and are not part of the development process, even though as end users they oftentimes have a great deal of untapped experience and expertise,” says Daniel. Before coming to H-CAP, Daniel was a health care worker and then Assistant Director with the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds, so he holds an especially unique and valuable perspective on this work.

Training is not just about skills development either. Daniel says the bargaining and training development process also promotes improvements in wages, worker agency, safety, and benefits, while offering the chance to scale job quality across large populations of low-wage workers. The H-CAP Education Association is an initiative that further supports the scaling of job quality. The association is a network of labor-management training funds and partnerships focused on health care from around the US. The association provides a variety of information, including resources on serving frontline caregivers during COVID, and a space to share best practices and lessons learned in practice, policy, and advancing racial equity.

Advancing Job Quality through Apprenticeship: Tools to Grow Apprenticeship

H-CAP views apprenticeship as the gold standard of workforce development and training strategies. The organization has been a national leader in designing and implementing apprenticeship programs for the health care industry.

H-CAP has also developed a number of resources and tools to help grow apprenticeship. H-CAP designed a National Library that serves as a repository of apprenticeship curricula and training approaches created for health care apprenticeship programs in various occupations around the country. H-CAP has also produced materials to help the field design and operate youth apprenticeship programs.

H-CAP’s Toolkit for Registered Apprenticeship in Healthcare is designed for industry partnerships that are looking to plan, create, or grow an apprenticeship program. The toolkit provides a step-by-step guide to creating an apprenticeship along with a number of templates and other materials that practitioners can use or adapt. Resources on pre-apprenticeship, evaluation, mentorship, and more are included to help users identify other strategies and supports users can consider to support their apprenticeship program.

H-CAP’s policy work crosses a lot of different spaces. Daniel serves on the board of the National Skills Coalition where he advocates for workforce development policies that center BIPOC communities and workers. H-CAP also uses its network of labor-management partnerships to advocate for investments in workforce development strategies that promote job quality and equity at the federal and state level.

H-CAP’s core policy work is now housed within The Center for Advancing Racial Equity and Job Quality in Long-Term Care (The Center for Equity). The center is focused on improving workforce policy development and building a narrative around long-term care in the experience and voices of the predominantly BIPOC women who make up the long-term care workforce. Daniel says, “The Center for Equity intentionally centers the majority women of color – with many immigrants – caregiving workforce to confront the links between systemic racial and gender inequity and poor job quality in long-term care. This work is in service of creating the equitable caregiving system our nation needs,” Daniel states.

Daniel says every day with COVID shows us the disparity between how essential long-term care workers are and how little we value their work. He remarked, “While the health care industry has long lamented the critical worker shortage in this country, we’ve done shockingly little to meaningfully address it in ways that support equity-driven advancement and job quality.” Daniel believes that the workforce development field needs to revisit how it thinks about this work too. Instead of framing so many of the challenges around skills gaps, H-CAP believes in looking more deeply at the structural makeup of the industry with a racial equity lens. It’s through this lens, Daniel says, that “H-CAP works to address long-term occupational segregation where training doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but rather is tied to better job quality and equity-driven advancement.” That opens the door to engaging in other job quality strategies such as portable benefits and policy advocacy around labor market discrimination.


Transforming Health Care Workforce Development: A Profile of #JobQuality Fellow @daniel_bustillo, Executive Director, The Healthcare Career Advancement Program @HCAPinc.

.@HCAPinc’s policy work is housed within the @Center4Equity, which is building a narrative around long-term care in the experience and voices of the predominantly BIPOC women who make up the workforce.

As executive director of @HCAPinc, @daniel_bustillo works to “confront the links between systemic racism and sexism and the poor #jobquality that millions of caregivers experience each day.” Read more in this profile by @AspenJobQuality.

“While the health care industry has long lamented the critical worker shortage in this country, we’ve done shockingly little to meaningfully address it in ways that support equity-driven advancement and #jobquality.” @daniel_bustillo @HCAPinc

Learn more

Daniel Bustillo is a member of the Aspen Institute’s Job Quality Fellowship, Class of 2022-23. The Job Quality Fellowship is convened by the Economic Opportunities Program.

The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on publications, blog posts, events, and other announcements.

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