Housing crisis making recruiting a challenge for Essentia Health

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Here’s the situation happening more and more often.

A Twin Ports company recruits a potential new employee. That recruit researches the company, then researches living in the Twin Ports metro area. It all looks good!

But before the recruit accepts the job she starts a deep dive into housing options here.

And what the recruit begins to realize is that finding a home or apartment that is available, affordable, and live-able is simply going to be too big of a challenge.

So, she turns down the job offer and the Twin Ports loses someone who could add to our community.

This is part of the continuing “Housing Crisis” in the Twin Ports.

There are companies looking to hire, small business and really big organizations.

Too often these companies are recruiting great candidates to come and work and live in the metro, but the lack of homes or apartments in our area is causing people to turn down jobs because they just can’t find a suitable place to live.

John Higgins, Vice President of Talent Management at Essentia Health is having to overcome the housing crisis as they work to bring in new nurses, therapist, physicians, and executives to their growing organization.

Essentia has lots of jobs to fill.

 “Yeah, I wouldn’t say housing is becoming an issue. Housing has been an issue. And it you know, it doesn’t appear to be slowing down, certainly with our new our new facility going live and the need to continue to recruit talent to it. This is a pressure point for us.”

The housing crisis is even kept John and his wife from moving here.

“So when my wife and I joined the Essential Family we took a real hard look at Duluth. In fact, we came up here on four or five different house hunting trips, got close on one house, probably looked at 30. But you know, what I would tell you is the from a value perspective, there were properties that needed a great deal of work. So, you were buying something that you weren’t sure what you were getting into and how much that remodel might cost.

Or if they were already remodeled the price per square foot was almost cost prohibitive in many cases.

I evaluated the options that I had as a leader here at Essentia in terms of where else I might live? I had the choices of places like Fargo, places like Brainerd. I was able to find a much better value proposition in those communities than we could find here in the Duluth market.”

So, John is working out of Brainerd. But he hasn’t given up hope that someday the housing situation will improve here and he will be able to move to Duluth.