Industry News

Workforce Training Pioneer Penn Foster Merges With Online Learning Provider Carrus to Close Skills Gap in US Healthcare

By Aniqah Majid
October 18, 2021

October 13th – leading digital skills developer Penn Foster announced that it will be combining with Carrus, one of the biggest healthcare training providers in America, to develop an affordable middle-skills training program in the healthcare sector. The venture looks to combat the growing shortage of experienced healthcare workers in the US, a discrepancy that has only been aggravated by the demands of COVID-19.

By 2025, the shortage of healthcare workers will reach over 500,000, from home health aides to nurse practitioners, a Mercer HPA report found.

The shortage in the healthcare field has not been new. Yet, the onslaught of the pandemic has caused an immense strain on already overworked staff. A Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that at least a third of frontline healthcare workers have considered leaving the profession. The American Hospital Association highlights that a big reason for this outlook lies in the lack of staff and appropriate training needed to deal with the current demands of the field.  

“We’ve seen firsthand the rapid shift in the labor force that has left more and more middle-skill workers behind. Healthcare jobs are among the most in-demand and evolving in the economy and it’s crucial we address this issue now by providing workers with the tools and knowledge to meet employers’ ever-changing needs,” said Misty Frost, CEO of Carrus. 

Carrus provides custom learning programs for workers, both starting out and currently in the healthcare industry, who need medical expertise on medical policy, procedures, and methods of care. Penn Foster provides online skills training for a range of professions, it is a vocations-based service for working learners who require specific skills. This merger represents Penn Foster’s further expansion into the healthcare sector. 

The combined company will serve more than 400,000 enrollees per year with 115,000 participating in its healthcare training vertical, making it one of the largest skills-based training platforms in the country.

Together, Penn Foster and Carrus will enhance the healthcare training process with data science and technology. They also aim to facilitate access to a variety of careers in the industry, from medical billing and coding to pharmacy technicians and medical assistants.

Frank Britt, CEO of Penn Foster, said in a statement, “we have long admired Carrus, a company whose values, mission, and culture mirror our own. Together we will create greater value for employers by connecting them with highly trained employees entering the job market in ‘hard to staff for’ areas, while also providing learners with accessible, high quality, skills-based training, and placement services to ensure a seamless transition to the workforce.”

In March of this year, Penn Foster acquired Sokanu, the creator behind CareerExplorer, the popular career navigator used by job seekers when searching for a profession that matches their expertise. The new merger will utilize CareerExplorer to build personalized learning plans around the career options they recommend.


Penn Foster is an educational technology company bridging the gap between education and economic opportunity to build tomorrow’s workforce. We partner with employers, education and workforce organizations, and local community groups to design and deliver digital and blended learning programs that attract, upskill, and retain workers in America’s fastest-growing fields and professions. Together with Carrus, Penn Foster helps more than 400,000 individuals each year discover pathways to opportunity through accredited diploma, certificate, and degree programs that matter in the world of work. For more information, visit

Carrus delivers quality, trusted healthcare learning content, continuing education, and certification management to new learners, healthcare professionals, and institutions through an integrated technology platform that provides the most seamless healthcare learning experience possible. In 25+ years, Carrus—through its CareerStep and CareerCert divisions—has trained over 150,000 learners for new careers, partnered with more than 150 colleges and universities nationwide, and educated more than 100,000 healthcare professionals.