June 15, 2024

Career fair connects workers to W. MI health care industry

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A unique event was held in Grand Rapids Wednesday, combining fun with the opportunity to connect workers to careers in the health care industry.

While there has been some improvement since the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders with Corewell Health said holes in the health care workforce are still present.

“It’s upwards of 1,000 positions at any point in time for the company,” said Charlotte Byndas, director of system talent attraction at Corewell Health.

Byndas said it’s not only a shortage of nurses and doctors that has made an impact.

“There’s all the IT professionals that are helping keep the systems up and running and available,” Byndas said. “People that are in nurse technician roles, the radiology teams, the labratory teams.”

Wednesday, the West Michigan Works! Health Careers Council held a career fair carnival at Grand Rapids Community College’s Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC. The first-time event brought 15 employers face-to-face with potential workers, while offering a variety of fun activities.

“We’ve done traditional career fairs for a long time now and frankly, the last handful of months, we haven’t seen great turnout among job seekers,” said Trevor Mier, industry lead for West Michigan Works! Health Careers Council. “We wanted to re-imagine that career fair as really as a kind of family-friendly event.”

Mier said health care is the largest private sector industry in Michigan, employing around 568,000 workers in 2021.

According to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget, careers like nurse practitioners are expected to grow 50% between 2020 and 2030.

“As the population kind of ages and gets older, the need for health care services are just going to rise,” Mier said.

One of the people at the career fair carnival was Jesse Maina, a graduate student at GVSU from Kenya.

“Now because I’m going into my final year, I’m kind of looking for an internship or maybe a job,” Maina said.

Maina’s degree will be in data science but he wants transfer his to skills to the health sector.

“To analyze the data that can be used by specialists like doctors, like the management team to make insights,” Maina said.

Maina told News 8 the career fair carnival boosted his confidence in landing a role.

“I believe at the end of it all, I’ll get a chance to work with them,” Maina said.

Meir said West Michigan’s health care industry is ready for workers of all experience levels and backgrounds.

“Employers are starting to invest heavily in their workforce and they’ll help folks in those entry-level roles, once they have their foot in the door, get that education and training that they need to advance up to roles with higher responsibility and higher pay,” Mier said.

Trinity Health had 735 positions in West Michigan that need to be filled as of Wednesday and those are both clinical and non-clinical roles.

Trinity Health also has utilized a number of incentives and program to attract workers, including:

  • Trinity Health Referral Rewards Program (incentives for employee referrals)
  • Daily Pay (same day pay request)
  • Immediate Benefits
  • Trinity Health Nursing Assistant Program (in-house training program for nurse assistant and no cost to employees)
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Wheels To Work (free concierge transportation service)
  • Career Coaching Services

At Corewell Health, Byndas said careers like registered nurses could be offered up to a $10,000 sign-on bonus.

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