Big Questions

Getting clarity on what matters for your mission


What does “local” mean to your institution?

Factors to consider:

  • Where do your patients live? Where do your patients with the most pressing health needs live?
  • Where do local intermediaries currently work? What kinds of trainings do they offer?
  • Are there any high-poverty zip codes in your service area? Are they any zip codes with significant health disparities?
  • How far do employees travel on average to get to work? What modes of transportation are available to get to your institution? Are there any areas that are not accessible? Are there areas that may be further away but easily accessible via public transit?
  • Where do most employees currently live? Where do most applicants currently live?
  • Have specific geographic areas of need been identified in your strategic plan or community health needs assessment?
  • Has “local” been defined in any other area of your institution such as procurement?
  • Is there housing that is affordable and accessible to employees? Is there a need to support increasing housing options?


What does “community” mean to your institution?

Factors to consider:

  • How is “community” defined in your mission statement? Your strategic plan? Your community health needs assessment?
  • Are there any particular populations identified in your community health needs assessment as underserved or with health disparities?
  • What are the demographics of your surrounding area? How do they compare to the demographics of current staff?
  • What populations struggle the most with unemployment or underemployment?


Mission alignment? Long-term business case? Both?

  • What are your pressing Human Resource needs? Have turnover and/or retention been identified as issues? Are there hard-to-fill positions, or positions that are projected to have vacancies in the future?
  • Is diversity identified as a priority for your institution? Is increasing staff diversity an explicit goal?
  • Is sustainability identified as a priority for your institution? Is increasing the number of staff living close to the institution a goal?
  • Has unemployment been identified as a concern in your community health needs assessment? Do patient populations you serve struggle with unemployment or underemployment?
  • Does your mission identify community health and well-being as a priority?
  • Does your institution participate in any collaborative economic revitalization efforts? Are there workforce development and hiring initiatives at the city, county, and/or state level?

Next: Laying the Foundations

Measure your workforce baseline

Key ways to assess your current workforce and existing commitments

Survey your workforce policies and practices

Which policies and processes are working? Which are barriers to success?

Map your community's assets

You know your community needs jobs—but do you know the strengths it can offer?

Identify your partners

A workforce pipeline doesn't have to be built alone—who will be on your team?

Design around data and metrics

What are you going to measure to assess success, and how are you going to measure it?

Plan for sustainability

How do you institutionalize programs and get the whole team on board?