Springfield, MO

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CoxHealth is hiring locally and in countries such as Puerto Rico.
SBJ file photo
CoxHealth is hiring locally and in countries such as Puerto Rico.

CoxHealth seeks to bolster employment ranks

Posted online

After reaching a systemwide employment count of nearly 11,500 to start the year, CoxHealth is hosting a hiring event tomorrow to fill 100 more positions.

The 4-6 p.m. event scheduled at Cox South seeks nurses, nurse assistants, pharmacy technicians, phlebotomy support technicians and meal servers, as well as financial positions including a senior internal auditor, accounts payable specialist, accounting analyst, accountants and financial auditors, according to a news release.

On Jan. 1, CoxHealth finalized its purchase of Barton County Memorial Hospital in Lamar, increasing its number of employees to the near 11,500 mark. That’s up from 10,362 employees locally in December 2017 and more than 11,000 systemwide in August 2017, according to Springfield Business Journal reporting.

CoxHealth is also looking beyond in-market hires, searching for employees outside of the United States.

The health system recently was included in a CNNMoney article highlighting its nurse recruitment efforts in Puerto Rico. CoxHealth spokeswoman Kaitlyn McConnell this morning said the health system’s first trip to the island country this month resulted in the hiring of 10-15 nurses.

“We plan to make this a recurring event,” she said.

Officials told CNNMoney its Puerto Rican recruitment efforts started in spring 2017. The country has become its easiest option "because we don't have to deal with work visa issues," said Celeste Cramer, the health system’s director of recruitment and retention, in the article. Cramer told CNN that CoxHealth hopes to soon hire 30 more nurses from the country.

CoxHealth also has looked to the Philippines for hires amid a documented nursing shortage, according to SBJ archives.

CoxHealth isn’t the only local employer with hiring needs.

The city of Springfield’s recent MOmentum: State of the Workforce survey revealed area employers are continuing to have a difficult time filling positions. In fact, 66 percent of respondents indicated they are having hiring issues.

That’s down from 72 percent in the 2017 survey. Employers cited a lack of work experience and relevant occupational skills, as well as an insufficient pool of applicants.

“While it is very encouraging that we are seeing stability in hiring across all sectors and given the growth in the economy, the looming question of finding qualified applicants still exists,” Springfield Workforce Development Director Mary Ann Rojas said in a news release.

The survey results were released during a Feb. 20 luncheon, when Juan Garcia, Amazon’s global leader for career advancement, was the keynote speaker at Bass Pro Shops’ White River Conference Center.

Survey respondents represented 575 employers of various sizes and industries in Greene, Taney, Christian, Stone, Webster, Polk and Dallas counties.

Other survey highlights:
    •    Forty-three percent of respondents expect to hire new full-time employees this year.
    •    Organizations responded to hiring difficulties by increasing recruitment efforts in the region, not filling jobs or providing overtime for existing workers.
    •    Employers identified interpersonal skills and motivation as the top two skills lacking in the workforce.

During the luncheon, Garcia spoke about Amazon’s Career Choice program that prepays or reimburses nearly all tuition and fees for its 300,000 employees to earn certificate and associate degrees.

“We’ve been evangelizing about Career Choice, inviting other companies to partner with us, building pipelines out to various employers … who might be looking for the new generation of Career Choice grads that we generate across America and 10 other countries,” Garcia said at the luncheon, according to the release. “We think it’s the future. We’ve built out a network across America … and if you think that some variation of Career Choice could help your organization, I want to hear from you.”


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