The shortage of allied health workers holds implications for several important areas:
The allied health sector in California already generates approximately $23 billion in payroll. That amount will more than double every 10 years, and, by 2030, the state's 1 million allied health workers will have a collective earning power of more than $116 billion — money that will go toward other goods and services in California, not to mention a source of payroll taxes of almost $9.6 billion based on today's rates.
The gap between the capacity of existing training programs in California and the projected demand for workers means that jobseekers interested in allied health careers will have to look elsewhere for training. As the economy recovers, California's colleges and training programs must prioritize high-growth fields, like allied health, that are hiring — especially considering the unemployment rates for younger students graduating from community college programs.
Allied health positions offer jobseekers a stable, upwardly mobile career path with as little as a few months or years of training.
Allied health workers are often unsung heroes, delivering high-quality care to patients behind the scenes. They are critical members of the patient care team, so shortages among allied health workers have a direct effect on the quality and timeliness of care.
And while it's imperative to grow the allied health workforce, it's also important to consider how we grow it. Allied health professionals are typically more diverse and representative of the patient populations they serve than other medical workers, and continuing to grow diversity in this sector will provide opportunities to provide more culturally aware care in California.