DEED Commissioner hosts roundtable with Essentia Health on healthcare jobs

The state of Minnesota is looking to help companies fill the many job positions left open by the worker shortage. Especially in Healthcare, where there are currently about 52,000 open healthcare positions in Minnesota.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development is currently on a roundtable tour titled the “Summer of Jobs tour”, visiting Duluth Tuesday.

DEED, trying to look for successes that essential health is having when it comes to hiring healthcare workers. Hoping to spread the information to other employers in the state.

Commissioner of DEED, Steve Grove says, "We face one of the tightest labor markets in the country and really the largest number of jobs vacancies Minnesota has ever seen."

At Essentia they say their shortage of workers accelerated due to COVID-19. They’re struggling with 8 critical areas.

Director of Workforce Strategy, Michelle Ufford says, "They include things like respiratory therapy, radiology, nursing, but also medical lab techs, certified nursing assistants, and the list goes on."

They say one issue when it comes to drawing people in to the field Is awareness.

"There’s a general lack of awareness of all the careers out there and unfortunate myth that persists here in North East Minnesota is there are no good jobs worth staying for. A lot of high school graduates think that once they graduate high school the best place to head to is the metro to find their career and nothing could be further from the truth. So we need to create awareness for the future job seekers, their teachers, their councilors, their parents”, says Ufford.

Essentia has now entrusted a department to spread that awareness of career possibilities to the community.

Commissioner Grove says, "They are not just talking to high school kids about careers in medicine, they are talking to elementary students. They are talking to really young student’ kind of showing that pathway of careers in healthcare that’s really unique."

As for what keeps people coming to Essentia, Ufford says, "There is a far greater emphasis on the personal benefits that one gets from working for an organization. It’s the flexibility, it’s alignment with the organization’s values, it’s contributions to the community, more so than a paycheck than it has been before."