Great Discussion on Roundtable Helps Wrap Up Health Care Month
February 3, 2021
Throughout January, DEED and our partners in CareerForce focused on highlighting the critical role the health care sector plays in Minnesota’s economy as well as the many employment opportunities in this in-demand field. As a part of our Health Care Month activities, DEED hosted two roundtables in January organized by DEED’s Workforce Strategy Consultants.
Last Wednesday, I joined Minnesota health care employers, educators, organizations and employees to discuss ways to raise awareness among young Minnesotans, people looking for work now and others about the many career path opportunities in health care.
One January 27th health care roundtable participant, Big Lake High School Principal Bob Dockendorf, suggested employers recruit high school students for health care and other in-demand positions like how high school students are recruited for college sports opportunities. We also heard from Brent Bultema of CentraCare in St. Cloud about how the workforce challenges facing the health care industry are too big for any one organization to take on alone – that solutions have to be sought in partnership with others. And we heard from Gayle Kvenvold at LeadingAge, an organization representing many senior care providers throughout Minnesota, how overcoming barriers to entry were necessary to bring staff on board to fill long-term care vacancies that topped 10,000 openings in Minnesota at one point during the pandemic.
Participants from last week’s roundtable, and the one in early January, also shared information about how there are many different types of career opportunities in health care, from housekeeping to dietary to direct care, and in a variety of settings from hospitals and clinics to assisted living and skilled nursing. Three events for nearly 60 high school students in central Minnesota last month reinforced that message with young people thinking about their future careers. And of course all of our career exploration events and virtual career fairs hosted by workforce development partners throughout the state this month have driven home the wide range of health care employment opportunities now.
Health Care Month is a great opportunity to raise awareness about and break down barriers to health care employment. It’s important to make sure Minnesotans know that health care employment can offer a career path to family sustaining wages and economic security – and many entry-level health care jobs require no previous experience, with employer-provided on-the-job training. Health care positions leverage transferable skills from many other fields, including hospitality – check out our new fact sheet that highlights career path opportunities in health care that build on skills earned through work in restaurants and other hospitality fields. It’s also important to emphasize that work in health care is meaningful employment: you can help your fellow Minnesotans and make a real difference in people’s lives.
Of course, our work in this area will continue in the months ahead. If you or someone you know is considering a career in health care, I invite you to contact CareerForce to get help with career exploration, skills development, connection to employers hiring now – and much more. Find contact information for staff near you by going to CareerForceMN.com/locations. Help from CareerForce is available at no cost to all Minnesotans.
And I want to encourage you to thank the health care employees you know. For nearly one year, they have been on the frontlines navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and have saved countless lives through their expert care and compassion. Thank you, health care workers!