Public-private partnership to address health care workforce shortage in Minnesota

Health systems grapple with an unprecedented health care workforce shortage.
Health Care Workers
Photo credit Ridofranz/ Getty Images Plus

As COVID-19 continues to spread, the state, along with private employers say they are in desperate need of health care workers.

"There are tens of thousands of open health care positions throughout Minnesota – at every level, in every setting and in every part of the state,” says, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner, Steve Grove. Caring people are needed now more than ever to make a difference in the lives of others – and get started on a fulfilling, in-demand career path."

Laura Beeth, the Vice President of Talent Acquisition, at M Health Fairview, says her team is staffing creatively to meet demand and attract more workers.

“When my team was trying to hire people, and someone couldn't work an-8-hour shift, but maybe they can work four [hours], so that other people on the floor have help during critical hours. I think it's [about] being more flexible and more creative than ever.”

The state has also chipped in to meet the current unprecedented health care workforce shortage. Using funds from the American Rescue Plan, the Office of Higher Education (OHE), is offering free tuition for certain health care programs.

“We have two new programs,” says OHE Commissioner Dennis Olson. “The first is the Minnesota Future Together grant. These funds are available to Minnesotans who are attending our public institutions right now.”

To see if you qualify for a Minnesota Future Together grant, click here.

“The second program is access to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. We’re covering all tuition and training expenses--- including books, scrubs and the certification exam as well.”

To find a FREE CNA program, click here.


While attracting new health workers is a worthy goal, industry leaders say they are working hard to keep current employees.

“We’re offering retention bonuses to our high need positions and our highly-skilled people,” says St. Cloud Hospital Operating Room Manager, Jess Ludwig, “We’re doing what we can to keep them here.”

At M Health Fairview, Beeth says they reached out retirees to see if they would come back. She says exiting employees have been asked what it would take for them to stay.

Across the Twin Cities, other healthcare systems report the same. They also say they are offering monetary incentives for premium shifts.

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