Labor shortage offers health care opportunities in the urban core

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dozens of job seekers in the urban core are learning that they can start a career in health care with no previous experience.

A shortage of health care workers is creating opportunities in neighborhoods with some of the highest unemployment.

Swope Health Services is based in the heart of the urban core, and its community health clinics are always hiring.

Swope hires at least a dozen people a month, and the demand is greater as clinics compete against big hospitals for health care talent.

This community health agency is letting the people it serves know that they can start out taking calls or registering patients, and with generous benefits that include tuition reimbursement, many employees at Swope work their way into high demand nursing or behavioral health specialties.

"It’s nice to be able to work with some of the people you serve," Robin Wheeler Sanders, Vice President of human resources for Swope Health Care, said. "Some of the people that may be in your neighborhood. People that are your neighbors or people that you’ve gone to school with. Many of the people I work with now are people I went to high school with. People that live in the neighborhood where I grew up, right behind Swope Health Central."

Applicants say they believe a community health agency like Swope gives them more consideration for job openings than a big hospital would. Many of the folks applying believe they have good people skills, they just need somewhere that's willing to take a chance and help them improve their lives.

The job fair continues through the afternoon. With a labor shortage in many health care specialties, Swope may have an advantage recruiting workers in neighborhoods where many still need jobs.

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