November 15, 2023

UNC Charlotte and Ready to Hire Join Forces to Strengthen North Carolina's Allied Health Workforce

Unique Partnership Connects Education to Employment to Solve Local Healthcare Talent Shortages

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Nov. 15, 2023 – UNC Charlotte School of Professional Studies and Ready to Hire powered by Cengage Group, a workforce solutions provider, today announced a partnership to improve opportunities for North Carolina job seekers and strengthen the talent pool for local healthcare systems in need of skilled allied health professionals.

"UNC Charlotte is committed to providing career mobility pathways and lifelong learning opportunities for people in our region and beyond," said Asher Haines, UNC Charlotte’s associate provost of the School of Professional Studies.  “Through this partnership, UNC Charlotte will provide employer-sponsored train-to-hire programs for in-demand allied health roles at local healthcare systems across the state.”

Currently, there is a major talent shortage in healthcare and hospitals need workers. According to a survey from AMN Healthcare 85% of healthcare facilities reported Allied Health talent shortages in October 2022. Per Cengage Group’s analysis, there’s a gap of 300K newly certified allied health professionals annually.

Combining the employer partnerships along with the course delivery platform of Ready to Hire and the robust support systems of UNC Charlotte, this train to hire program will enable healthcare systems to build new talent pools.  In this model, students are provided with free training, sponsored by the employer, without any need for prior experience. They will get both online skills training and onsite, hands-on training. Participants will be paid an hourly rate for the hours worked while training on-site as a Pharmacy Technician during the program at a competitive rate. At the end of the program, they will be prepared to sit for an industry recognized certification exam and are eligible to apply for a full-time role in the healthcare system.

The collaboration is already working successfully with Novant Health, one of the largest healthcare systems in North Carolina. Program participants are enrolled in a pharmacy technician training program and will eventually transition and onboard at Novant Health. 

"We are thrilled to partner with Ready to Hire and UNC Charlotte, as this collaboration allows us to tap into our local workforce and create a new pool of entry-level allied health talent," says Michael Paquette, Senior Director, Pharmacy at Novant Health. "The talent shortage in our industry has been a significant challenge, resulting in open roles remaining unfilled for extended periods. By developing our own talent through this program, we can ensure that these candidates are trained to our high standards and want to stay with our organization. We are delighted with the performance of our Ready to Hire trainees and eagerly anticipate expanding beyond our current pharmacy technician roles."

“Our collaboration with UNC Charlotte creates a direct link between job seekers and local employers,” said Rya Conrad-Bradshaw, Ready to Hire lead and VP of corporate markets at Cengage Work.  “Employers gain access to a pool of qualified candidates and draw on the University’s current student network, while job seekers find exciting career opportunities at their fingertips – it's a win-win.”

For more information about Ready to Hire visit

About UNC Charlotte

More than 30,000 students choose to call North Carolina’s urban research university home. Located in one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States, UNC Charlotte is the city’s great university. Through award-winning focus on student success that fosters economic mobility, internationally recognized programs of research and creative activity that foster societal growth, and a commitment to cultural enrichment that makes Charlotte more vibrant, UNC Charlotte is recognized as a Top 100 Public University by U.S. News and World Report. Learn more about what’s great only at Charlotte.

About UNC Charlotte School of Professional Studies:

The UNC Charlotte School of Professional Studies (SPS) connects best-in-class learning experiences to learners seeking to upskill and reskill at any stage of their career, and employers hoping to provide additional education and training for their workforce. The over 200 programs curated by award-winning faculty and instructors are designed with flexibility in mind and most offer weeknight, weekend and online options for working professionals. SPS offers short-format professional credit opportunities and certificates, bachelor’s and master’s degrees that provide career advancement and in-demand knowledge and skills. For more information, visit

About Ready to Hire:

Ready to Hire, part of Cengage Group’s workforce training business, helps companies create and grow talent through curated talent pipelines and upskilling products and services. Working directly with employers and a network of academic partners and workforce organizations, Ready to Hire helps employers build local talent pipelines through scalable, technology-enabled services that identify and train new talent through train-to-hire programs, upskill current talent to earn certifications and professional skills with an on-site structured experience, and access local talent. For more information, visit

About Cengage Group

With more than 100 years serving learners, Cengage Group is a global edtech company that enables student choice. No matter how, where, when or why someone wants to learn, our portfolio of education businesses supports all students, from middle school through graduate school and skills education, with quality content and technology. Collectively, our three business units – Cengage Academic, Cengage Work and Cengage Select – help millions of students each year in more than 125 countries achieve their education and career goals and lead choice-filled lives. Visit us at or find us on LinkedIn and Twitter.