Debra Caplan Appointed to Governor Shapiro’s Workforce Development Board

Governor Josh Shapiro has named workforce development as a top priority for his Administration, revamping the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board and announcing in September the appointment of more than 40 members to guide its work of creating opportunity for Pennsylvania businesses and workers.

Jewish Healthcare Foundation Board Chair Debra Caplan, MPA was chosen to represent community organizations on the board. Caplan has served on the Jewish Healthcare Foundation's Board of Trustees since 2015, and during that time has served in various leadership roles including as JHF Board vice chair from 2018-2020. She is currently chair of JHF's Board as well as JHF's operating arm Women's Health Activist Movement Global(WHAMglobal).

Since taking office, Governor Shapiro has been focused on creating real opportunity for Pennsylvanians, whether that's through college or the workforce. The 2023-24 bipartisan budget delivers on that promise by investing $23.5 million in workforce training and vo-tech programs to prepare more students for skilled careers in the building, construction, and infrastructure industries and $6 million in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programming so Pennsylvanians can earn-while-they-learn and secure a job that leads to family-sustaining wages.

The importance of this investment can be seen in a recent Pittsburgh Wage Study by the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work focusing on "Worker-Generated Solutions for the Challenges Facing Hospital Workers."

In spring 2022, the Pittsburgh Wage Study released a report, "Leaving the Bedside: Findings from the Pittsburgh Hospital Workers Survey," which highlighted the experiences of over 2,000 workers as they navigated increased demands due to COVID-19 and their adjustment to the new and still changing landscape. From December 2022 to April 2023, the Pittsburgh Wage Study team continued its work, conducting focus groups with 45 current and former Pittsburgh hospital workers to gain insight into their challenges and hear proposed resolutions to the risk to patient care and safety created by understaffing and insufficient worker-to-patient ratios, harms to worker well-being resulting from inadequate pay, benefits, and lack of mental health supports; and exacerbation of understaffing and worker stress due to management styles and a workplace culture that prioritizes profits over people and devalues workers' voices and expertise. Read the report here.

This study highlights the continued need for the Foundation's efforts to advance improvements to the maternal care, mental health, community heath worker, and long-term care workforces, and for JHF's ongoing workforce development programs including the BH Fellows program, the Feinstein Fellowships, and the Teaching Nursing Home Collaborative. 

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