On May 2, 2023, executives from various organizations across the nation will convene in Fort Worth, Texas to examine ways in which they might collaborate to alleviate the laboratory workforce shortage. According to recent studies, laboratories struggle to fill vacant positions. Professionals in the laboratory are overworked. In the aftermath of a three-year pandemic that required laboratory staff to labor valiantly day and night, some have regrettably left the profession altogether.
According to current forecasts, the next generation will not produce enough medical laboratory scientists to replace the predicted retirements or meet the increased need for laboratory testing in the future. The severity of this shared problem affects private and public health laboratories across the nation.
In response to this crisis, the Workforce Action Alliance Summit is an appeal for action. According to Ms. Nancy Stratton, Chief Executive Officer, “COLA wanted to do something to help laboratories and the profession. When the topic was discussed during our Laboratory Enrichment Forum last year, we asked how we could help. It was suggested that we bring people together to identify some key priorities for shared action.” This led to the formation of a Planning Committee to organize a one-day Summit. Ms. Stratton continued, “We realized that working together starts now and we are profoundly grateful for the collaboration of other laboratory leaders in making this Summit a reality.”
COLA and the Planning Committee members will develop and publish a written summary of the Summit Proceedings. The Summit is just the beginning of the shared action. “There are so many great initiatives already underway. The questions for all of us at the Summit will be what is missing, what can be scaled and how can we unify and focus our efforts on solutions that will make the biggest difference,” stated Ms. Stratton. The Workforce Action Alliance Summit will take place the day before COLA’s Annual Laboratory Enrichment Forum (LEF), where a summary of the Summit will be shared during a general session at the LEF.
COLA would like to thank Allied Search Partners, the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) and the National Independent Laboratory Association (NILA), the Coordinating Council on the Clinical Laboratory Workforce and U.S. HealthTek for their chartable financial contribution to help make the Summit possible.