Helping health care employers connect with candidates

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Employment opportunities in Northeast Ohio’s health care sector are, and have been, booming.
“It’s a huge driver of the regional economy, and there’s really so much opportunity to build a career in the field,” says Sue Krejci, executive director of the Workforce Connect Healthcare Sector Partnership at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®).
The health care industry currently employs some 300,000 people in the area. Projections show that number increasing by 85,000 over the next decade, with COVID-19 creating immediate and urgent employment demands.
The impact of the virus has shone a light on the need to ensure that health care systems are well staffed. The Workforce Connect Healthcare Partnership is helping hospitals address talent shortages while building pathways to health care careers for Cuyahoga County job seekers.
Smart Business spoke with Krejci about how Northeast Ohio health care employers can fill their talent pipeline.
What are the biggest areas of need for Northeast Ohio health care organizations?
Northeast Ohio hospitals are huge organizations and safe and exciting places to work. They have needs in a wide variety of roles, ranging from highly technical positions that require advanced training to entry-level jobs. Every position plays a critical role in a hospital’s ability to function at the highest level.
Many roles put workers on the front line of patient care, while others fill behind-the-scenes needs in pharmacies and labs. For example, there are many opportunities for traditional clinical roles, such as nursing and medical assistants. But non-clinical positions in food service, janitorial and sterile processing are also in high demand.
How can Northeast Ohio health care organizations efficiently connect with candidates?
The Workforce Connect Healthcare Sector Partnership is committed to addressing employment needs in the health care sector and opening the funnel to get more area residents into the job pipeline.
One focus is on connecting with potential workers from underserved neighborhoods with high unemployment. We’re partnering with community organizations, educational institutions and workforce training providers to identify candidates and ensure they have the right training and support in place to offer a better chance at employment success.
What is Workforce Connect’s relationship with employers?
The Workforce Connect Healthcare Sector Partnership is shifting the paradigm, bringing hospital systems together to craft staffing solutions with support from Tri-C as the chosen intermediary. It’s a platform for employers to discuss common hiring challenges and create a shared strategy to engage the right job candidates, provide access to the right training and education and, ultimately, help people build careers in health care.
Another organizational emphasis is on working with education providers to align programs with employment needs. The goal is increase capacity for in-demand careers and ensure that people are training for jobs that will be available. It’s a system-building effort to make sure conversations continue to grow between employers and educational and training organizations.
There’s also a push to engage with younger people to make them aware of health care careers that may not be well known. For example, phlebotomy and sterile processing are two in-demand positions that have low recognition. By engaging with youth earlier, it’s possible to get these career fields on their radar. That can help address the workforce pipeline needs of area employers.
Ultimately, it’s about working collaboratively with education providers, employers and the community to make sure they’re all on the same page regarding the health care opportunities in Northeast Ohio.

If COVID-19 has made anything clear, it’s the vital role health care plays in people’s lives. Ensuring the resilience and effectiveness of Northeast Ohio’s health care organizations requires people — on the front lines as well as behind the scenes. It’s a great way to build a career and make a contribution to a field that’s doing so much to help the community.

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