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This policy brief presents recommendations from health pipeline professionals about how to build a diverse health care workforce and support young people of color pursuing these opportunities. Health career pipeline programs should be designed to increase opportunities for people from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, and disadvantaged back- grounds to pursue careers in health care. Health career pipeline programs offer young people and students the chance to engage in experiential learning by providing paid work-based internships and other learning opportunities in the health sector. Beyond these fundamental skills, pipeline programs need to provide targeted support to students of racial and ethnic minority backgrounds8 if they are to play a significant role in diversifying California’s health workforce.
The health sector can serve as a vehicle for economic security in communities of color while simultaneously creating a diverse industry that reflects California’s diverse communities. More than one third of the projected growth in health care jobs will occur in the allied health professions, which already represent 60 percent of all health care providers. These professions include occupational therapists, dental hygienists, and x-ray technicians, and require relatively little formal training beyond a high school diploma. On average, these jobs pay about $35,000 per year and can provide opportunities for career advancement and educational reimbursement.