The “transition” into entrepreneurship was pretty natural for Kayla Wright-Jackson and Corey Shaw.
Wright-Jackson, originally from Denver, previously worked across the healthcare space as a kinesiologist, caregiver, and educator. She then received her Master of Health Administration degree from MSU Denver which led her to become the head of HR for a home care agency. In that role is when she experienced the direct challenges of hiring frontline workers.
Shaw, who describes himself as a “non-traditional developer,” attended The Iran Yard bootcamp before working as an Application Developer at Emory University School of Medicine. He was introduced specifically to CNA (certified nursing assistant) schools through his mother and saw the broken system between the schools, employers, and graduates.
Both Wright-Jackson and Shaw saw the pain points of creating a stronger talent pipeline coming out of CNA schools. So they built Transition as an Atlanta-based marketplace to connect CNA students to professional opportunities.
CNAs play a vital role in the American healthcare system and provide direct care to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and home care facilities.
“Students are being trained at such a high rate…but we’re having a hard time getting them into the healthcare workforce,” Wright-Jackson told Hypepotamus. “Our platform gives students immediate exposure to career planning, resume building, job exploration, and peer-to-peer collaboration. And then the employers are able to build sustainable talent pipelines by identifying matches based on those students’ needs, interests, skills, and credentials.”
Transition sees itself at the intersection of the future of learning, work, and caregiving.
“Healthcare is companionship, and that’s one thing that we don’t take away as a technology company,” added Shaw. “We aren’t reinventing the wheel, but we’re streamlining how CNAs can provide better care.”
CNA schools pay a subscription to access Transition’s virtual career center technology. Despite only getting off the ground in 2021, Transition has helped 42 employers in the State of Georgia increase their CNA candidate pipeline to date. The team was part of the 2021 Techstars Workforce Development Accelerator, Which Wright-Jackson said helped them hone in on who their target audiences are. Transition is also part of The Jumpstart Foundry, a healthcare-focused program based out of Nashville.
The Transition team is currently focused on growing its school network and raising its pre-seed round.
Demand For Healthcare Workers
Transition is one of a growing number of startups using technology to address the education to employment gap for essential healthcare workers. Venture funding in the HealthTech staffing, recruiting, and education space has been particularly busy the last two years, with recent headlines in the space including San Francisco-based Vivian Health raising a $60 million round this spring.
Closer to home, Atlanta-based SnapNurse has become a go-to platform for travel nurses. It raised a $17.8 million venture funding round last year to scale.
Staffing and turnover are massive problems hitting all sectors of healthcare. The nursing staff turnover rate was up 25% between 2022 and 2021, according to a recent report by the Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service.
But it was a problem even before the pandemic. A 2018 report found that 46% of doctors surveyed were considering leaving the profession within three years.
“Honestly, there’s been a shortage of health care workers way before the pandemic,” said Wright-Jackson. “The market is super antiquated. It is the largest employer in the United States, but since it’s such a highly regulated industry, it’s also so fragmented.”