NextStep, a Seattle-based startup that recruits and trains displaced workers for fast-growing careers in the healthcare sector, has raised an additional $3.6 million to fuel growth its platform.
The funding round was led by venture capital firm SpringRock Ventures, and joined by other existing investors, including JAZZ Venture Partners, Learn Capital’s LearnStart Fund, and the managing directors of Pioneer Square Labs.
Founded in 2018 by Chris Hedrick and Charissa Raynor, NextStep creates next-generation technology and learning solutions to meet the needs of the healthcare industry. It aims to radically expand the supply of qualified CNAs to address the nation’s caregiver shortage crisis. The startup has operations in Seattle, Washington, and Bozeman, Montana.
NextStep operates a mobile-based training platform and a job placement program for long-term care workers. It targets people in low-wage jobs who are threatened by displacement and trains them for in-demand healthcare positions, including certified nursing assistant, home health aide, and personal care assistant.
Commenting on the development, Chris Hedrick, Co-founder and CEO of NextStep, said in a statement, “By tapping the potential and strengths of displaced talent, we can bolster the healthcare workforce and offer millions of workers a pathway to sustainable and fulfilling careers – at a time when our country needs it most.”
NextStep enables employers who need healthcare workers to screen talent based on demonstration of competencies and soft skills suggestive of it for health care professions. Through courses delivered on mobile devices in 10-15 minute modules, displaced workers with experience in low-wage jobs can retrain for careers in the healthcare industry with higher earning and promotion potential. Workers not only receive training, but also benefit from an industry-recognized certification and automatic job placement services.
With millions of people filing for unemployment, and a growing demand for trained healthcare workers amidst coronavirus pandemic, NextStep sees a big opportunity to fill some gaps. The company had recently debuted a National COVID-Ready Caregiver Certification program to help address the caregiver shortage amidst the raging coronavirus pandemic across the country. Under this program, the company trains CNAs, home care workers, family caregivers, and anyone who is supporting the elderly and people with disabilities.
Meanwhile, NextStep has raised about $10 million to date. Previously, the company had raised $3 million in August 2019 and $3.15 million in a seed financing round led by JAZZ Venture Partners in 2018.