Value of ONC Health IT Workforce Program

I previously wrote about the value (or lack therof) of an EHR certificate when searching for a health IT job. With that in mind I thought it would be interesting to take a minute to look at the millions of dollars that the government put into the ONC Health IT Workforce Program.

For those who don’t know about the program, I first wrote about the program in May 2012 and about the HIT Pro Competency Exam that was associated with the program. I also followed up with an article talking about a first hand experience with the HIT Worforce program and finding jobs for the ONC Worforce participants.

If you read those articles, you’ll see that the program didn’t have a sterling reputation despite a lot of people that were excited about the prospects of breaking into healthcare IT. It seems that the Health IT Worforce program didn’t work out to well for many that were searching for health IT jobs. I did meet one health IT PR lady who took the program and thought that it was helpful for her to better do her job. Not the intent of the program.

As I look at the program, it seems that it failed to meet its intended goal of providing more health IT professionals. I think the biggest reason I think it generally failed is that it was missing deep ties into the healthcare community. A training program that’s not respected and appreciated by the healthcare IT community isn’t going to be of much value at all.

What are the lessons learned? ONC and the colleges who took part in the program should have created deeper ties into the health IT community for both the training they did and for placement post-training. I know that some of them worked really hard to do this and basically ran into a brick wall. So, I realize that this is much easier said than done. However, it’s absolutely what’s necessary.

I also think that the program should have been designed around specific EHR software training. The general training is nice, but the EHR specific training is much more valuable to an employer and more valued by a recruiter. Maybe some government incentive would have encouraged the behemoth EHR vendors to open up their EHR training to more people. Possibly not, but it would have been worth a try.

If you took part in the ONC Workforce program and haven’t found a job, be sure to upload your resume to Healthcare IT Central and search the various health IT jobs posted there. Plus, do everything you can to get some hands on health IT experience which you can add to your resume.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • I appreciate your insight John and I agree with your findings. About a year and a half ago, I established my own Healthcare IT Workforce EHR Job Training and Placement Program, utilizing the ONC curriculum. I’m currently finding success in “piloting” my approach here in my home state of New Jersey. You are absolutely on point regarding the need for “deeper ties into the health IT community for both the training…and for placement post-training”. And also, adding additional “hands-on” specialized EHR component training. I bring to my school, my nine years of experience as a EHR “vendor” certified and experienced EHR Analyst to know what my students will require to get hired by healthcare employers. I’m putting together my next post/blog here at Healthcare IT Today to expand on this topic —thanks for this spark!

    Shirley Corsey

  • I am the Program Director for a newly formed Health Informatics program at Georgia State University in Atlanta. We use the ONC curriculum as a backbone for our program, but to your point, we added several hands-on components to our curriculum. This includes students working in academic EHRs like Neehr Perfect and the Cerner product that is offered through the textbook publisher Pearson. All of our students are also placed in an internship to get hands-on experience on-site. Our first cohort graduates next spring, and we are hopeful their education and training will provide them the experience they need to be placed in a job that starts their careers off on the right foot.
    Tamara Melton, MS, RDN, LD
    Program Director
    Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Health Informatics
    Georgia State University

  • Thanks for leaving a comment Tamar. Glad to hear that you’ve leveraged the program, but added on top of what it’s missing.

    We love working with Health Informatics programs. Your students can look for jobs and post their resumes for free: Also, we’ve had a number of informatics programs sponsor our eNewsletter and done really well getting their name out there.

  • I know that some of them worked really hard to do this and basically ran into a brick wall. So, I realize that this is much easier said than done. However, it’s absolutely what’s necessary.

  • John, good intentions are not enough. I agree with your assessment about needing ties into the healthcare community.
    It seems to me that this is a pervasive shortcoming with federal government training programs and results in wasting tax dollars and discouraging participants.
    You would think gov’t figured this out years ago.

Click here to post a comment