More workers needed for health-care jobs

From left, Pine Haven Community employee Shelley Sobeck discusses career options with Rochester Community and Technical College students Brian Anderson, Rachel Rhody and Becky Olson Wednesday at the Health Sciences Career Fair held on campus.

Students milled about Rochester Community and Technical College's Health Science Career Fair Wednesday, but there were fewer students than in previous years, said many of the vendors manning booths.

As of February, the state's unemployment rate was at 3.7 percent , according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They say with a low unemployment rate throughout the region, there are fewer students looking for jobs, but there still are shortages in Southeast Minnesota, with the biggest shortages for Licensed Practical Nurse, Personal Care Assistant and Certified Nursing Assistant positions.

Employers from hospitals, longterm-care facilities, home-care facilities and assisted-living facilities talked with students about job openings and career opportunities.

"The entire health-care sector is needing people in all of these areas," said Ruth Borsheim, a career counselor with Workforce Development Inc. , a nonprofit geared at helping job seekers in the region.

"By 2056, the population 65 years and over is projected to become larger than the population under 18 years, according to WDI. "Therefore, health-care jobs will be increased and the need is going to be increased more than ever."


These are some of the key positions that need to be filled, according to Dallas Groten, area manager with Workforce Development Inc.:

• Licensed Practical Nurse.Job possibilities: Doctor's office, schools, nursing homes, longterm-care facilities

The demands for LPNs, especially, was driven by a change in Mayo Clinic's patient-care model following changes with the Affordable Care Act, Borsheim said.

LPN positions are identified as high demand, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, with about 810 openings expected in the next 10 years. About 32 percent of Minnesota-based LPNs are older than 55, and the median age is 47.

• Certified Nursing Assistant.Job possibilities: Nursing homes, hospitals, longterm-care facilities, personal homes, adult day care

• Personal Care Assistant or Personal Care Aide.Job possibilities: Patient homes, hospitals, longterm-care facilities, transitional-care unit, nursing homes There are 1,480 openings expected in the next 10 years, according to MnDEED.

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