The Health Occupation and Professions Exploration (HOPE) program served as a catalyst for the creation of a new Career Pathways Department. HOPE was founded in 2013 by Bridgett Willey, UW Health Program Director of School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Bridgett saw a need for increased diversity in the health care workforce and more career pathways education for students at a younger age to help them explore the numerous career options available in health care. With the help of Executive Sponsor, Tim Gaillard, UW Health SVP, COO, the program ran their first session in the fall of 2013, capping student enrollment at 30 high school students. The program has now hosted over 500 high school students and 500 college mentors and is continuing to grow. In 2015 HOPE linked with UW Health summer internships, providing 60 internships in clinical health care areas, for HOPE participants.
As HOPE has grown, so has the need for workforce development in healthcare professions. These needs led to the expansion of HOPE to include adult pathways and other career planning services and resources now available in the newly formed Allied Health Education and Career Pathways department. This new initiative will allow UW Health to have greater organizational and community-wide impact for workforce development.