Legislation to Modernize the Health Profession Opportunity Grant

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July 16, 2021
Statements

Today, Ways and Means Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL), along with Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA),  and Ways and Means Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Ranking Member Representative Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR), led a bipartisan group of Representatives in reintroducing legislation to modernize the Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) program to better support low-income workers as they seek training and education for in-demand health care careers. The HPOG program has a proven track record of successfully educating workers for in-demand jobs in the health care industry, while also providing career coaching and job placement, along with a mix of other support services.

 

 

“Over the years, the Health Profession Opportunity Grant program has successfully provided pathways to well-paying, in-demand jobs in the health care industry for workers in all 50 states, tribal communities, Washington DC, and all five U.S. territories. The program’s importance has only grown in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) said. “Not only will this legislation put even more people back to work, it will also help to close our country’s health care workforce shortages. Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis has been a champion of this program, and I’m grateful to all of our Ways and Means Committee Democrats for strengthening and improving this worthwhile initiative.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated our nation’s shortage of allied health care employees and profoundly harmed millions of vulnerable workers - especially women, mothers, and people of color,” Ways and Means Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL) said. “This legislation will help workers with barriers to employment enter health careers that are in high-demand, growing our workforce, strengthening our economy, and improving the health of our communities. I am proud to lead this bill with Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal, Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón, and so many of my colleagues.”

 

“I thank my colleagues Chairman Neal and Subcommittee Chairman Davis for working with me to address the disparities in federal programs as they apply to the territories, disparities which negatively affect the health and well-being of the Americans in Puerto Rico,” Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón said. “The Pathways to Health Careers Act makes U.S. territories eligible for HPO Grant funds, allowing these jurisdictions to benefit from the proven success of this program. This bill addresses, not only the shortage of qualified healthcare staff in Puerto Rico, but also provides an opportunity for Americans in the territories to join the healthcare occupations without the overriding concern that they will have to move away from the place they call their home in order to afford higher education, in light of the lower reimbursement rates from federal territorial healthcare programs.”

 

A fact sheet on the HPOG program is available HERE.
Section-by-Section of the Pathways to Health Careers Act is available HERE.

The Pathways to Health Careers Act fully incorporates a host individual bills designed to improve the HPOG program, including:

H.R. 3335, Territory Health Revitalization Act
Sponsor: Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR)
Summary: Revises current law to make all five U.S. territories eligible for Health Profession Opportunity Grant funds, sets aside five percent of total funding for grants to the territories, and guarantees at least two territorial grants per grant cycle.

H.R. 4223, Demonstrating that Empowerment Makes Opportunities (DEMO) Act 
Sponsor: Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL)
Summary: Authorizes demonstration projects to test an HPOG/Career Pathways approach for helping individuals with arrest or conviction records enter the health professions, and provides $10 million for them. 

H.R. 3931, Promoting Health Careers in Community & Technical Colleges Act
Sponsor: Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
Summary: Clarifies that community colleges, and other higher-ed institutions, including technical colleges, will continue to remain eligible grantees of the Health Profession Opportunity Grant Program, and requires that enrolled students earn industry-recognized credentials to ensure that the training they receive results in a job.

H.R. 4236, Health Opportunities to Promote Equity (HOPE) Act
Sponsor: Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., (D-NJ)
Summary: Guarantees that every state will have an HPOG program, so long as at least $250 million is provided for the overall program.

H.R. 4051, Opioid Treatment Providers Act 
Sponsor: Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY)
Summary: Ensures that certain high-quality opioid treatment providers are considered an eligible entity to apply for, and receive grant funds from, this health career training program. 

H.R. 3347, Rural Health Training Opportunities Act
Sponsor: Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL)
Summary: Gives priority to applications that would train healthcare workers in rural communities, and requires grantees to ensure that participants have access to transportation. 

H.R. 4171, Essential Skills and Child Care for Health Professions Act  
Sponsor: Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)
Summary: Requires grantees to provide support services like basic education, English-language proficiency, and child care, when needed.

H.R. 2701, Opportunities to Support Mothers & Deliver Children Act
Sponsor: Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)
Summary: Authorizes demonstration projects to test an HPOG/career pathways approach to training doulas, midwives, and other pregnancy and birth professions.

H.R. 1751, Technical Assistance for Health Grants Act  
Sponsor: Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI)
Summary: Requires HHS to provide targeted technical assistance with grant applications, implementation, and outcome reporting, to ensure that all applicants have a fair chance to receive funding and grants are administered effectively. Provides $15 million for this purpose. 

H.R. 4303, Labor Market Response Act 
Sponsor: Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA)
Summary: Requires all grant applicants to use publicly available labor market data to survey the local health care employment market, to ensure that they are training workers for in-demand jobs and those with a shortage of trained workers. 

H.R. 4034, Pre-Apprenticeship Promotion Act
Sponsor: Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)
Summary: Ensures that pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships are considered when implementing the Health Profession Opportunity Grant Program’s career pathway model.

H.R. 2312, Mentoring and Supporting Families Act 
Sponsor: Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
Summary: Requires the HPOG grantee’s case management plan to offer a career coaching service as part of the plan, with an option also to provide high quality mentoring and peer support as needed to ensure success in this health care training program.  

H.R. 4279, Health Career Advancement & Renumeration Exclusion for Training Act (Health CARE Training Act)
Sponsor: Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)
Summary: Requires that any health care workforce training program that receives HPOG federal funds must provide at least the minimum number of hours to meet state and industry standards.  It also ensures that any cash stipends or emergency assistance that a grantee may provide is not considered income.

H.R. 4325, Making Opportunities Reachable for Everyone (MORE) Act  
Sponsor: Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL)
Summary: Gives priority to HPOG grant applications that include partnerships among job training and education providers, state and local government, and unions and employers.

H.R. 4316, Tribal Healthcare Careers Act 
Sponsor: Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA)
Summary: Builds on the current success of Tribal HPOG programs by guaranteeing funding for grants to tribes, tribal organizations, and tribal colleges and universities.

H.R. 4351, Health Providers Training Act 
Sponsor: Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV)
Summary: Ensures that hospitals are considered an eligible entity to apply for, and receive grant funds from, this health career training program.

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