Empowering Purposeful Advancement of Careers and Training in the Research Workforce (EMPACTtm): Vision, Process, and Future
The Clinical Research Workforce is critical for the sustainability of the research enterprise. The skills needed to staff research projects are complex and multileveled, yet resources to advance careers in this field are scarce. Turnover of research staff is expensive and threatens timely completion of projects.
To address these challenges, the Georgia CTSA’s Translational Workforce Development (TWD) has developed an innovative career navigation system to promote (1) Purposeful training and career advancement, (2) Efficient recruitment process, (3) Data-driven training offerings, and (4) Data-driven decision & policy making for workforce development. The overarching goal of this project is to support the clinical and translational research (CTR) workforce by providing a platform that matches individuals’ needs for career advancement and organizations' strategic needs.
By applying a systematic design approach, rapid prototyping, competency-based approach, persona development, and baseline research , we were able to create a system with three different user interfaces, clinical research professionals (CRPs), employers/PIs, and training coordinators. CRPs can access personalized lists of current and future employment and training opportunities that meet career goals and competencies. They can also compare their professional competency levels to those of others holding similar positions and see available training opportunities that can enhance their competitiveness for targeted positions. Employers/PIs can post job openings, identify and recruit potential job candidates from a pool of eligible CRPs currently using EMPACTTM who are actively seeking employment, and gain information on current competency levels of the local CRP workforce. Training Coordinators can post training opportunities and access general information about current competencies and training needs of the local CRP workforce.
In collaboration with USC CTSI, we developed the Georgia CTSA Course Catalog where online courses with CE credits are available to audiences for free. The profiles of these trainings have been integrated into the EMPACT database to provide a customized matching service for our registered users.
We will continue to improve the system functions using the data we receive from users and offer career advancement resources as well as community building opportunities for clinical research professionals. We hope to build a network of CTSAs, sharing resources and opportunities nationwide.
 Sonstein, S. A., Seltzer, J., Li, R., Silva, H., Jones, C. T., & Daemen, E. (2014). Moving from compliance to competency: a harmonized core competency framework for the clinical research professional. Clinical Researcher, 28(3), 17-23. doi: 10.14524/CR-14-00002R1.1
 Rojewski, J. W., Choi, I, Hill, J. R., Ko, Y., Walters, K. L., Kwon, S., & McCauley, L. (2019). Career orientation and perceived professional competence among clinical research. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, 3(5): 234–244. doi: 10.1017/cts.2019.385
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