BRCC launches new program to meet growing healthcare job demands


BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Even as unemployment claims continue to drop and more people look for jobs, businesses are still struggling to get people on the payroll.

According to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC), there are more than 33,000 job openings in the Capital Region. The three with the most postings include general medical and surgical hospitals, full-service restaurants, and specialized trucking.

Experts say you can blame some of the staffing issues on one problem.

“There are a lot of people who want those jobs that could pay up to $90,000 a year,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior director of Business Intelligence for BRAC. The issue there is a skill mismatch.”ADVERTISEMENT

Fitzgerald said there are more than 1,200 jobs in the medical field open right now but if people aren’t qualified, those jobs can become nearly impossible to fill.

Many people say they don’t have the time or money to get the training that will help land them those jobs but this is where Fitzgerald says colleges in the Baton Rouge area can step up.

“One thing that’s going to be the most helpful is higher education institutions and training providers in order to upscale people to those higher-wage jobs,” explained Fitzgerald.

In fact, Baton Rouge Community College launched a new program last week to meet those growing healthcare demands.ADVERTISEMENT

It’s called the Workforce Healthcare Training Initiative. Chancellor Dr. Willie Smith says this project will provide community and healthcare providers with qualified, trained allied health professionals. The school has partnered with six healthcare providers, including Ochsner Health System, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Baton Rouge General, CareSouth Medical and Dental, Pointe Coupee General Hospital, and Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System.

“We know if these folks get these jobs that the return investment will be very great for our state, for Baton Rouge, for our economy but also uplift people out of poverty,” said Smith.

An analysis by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.4 million new jobs.

“I think this will also help people with equity on making sure people are being trained on those high demand careers where they can take care of themselves and compete with other folks across the country for those jobs,” added Smith.

For more information on joining the initiative, call (225) 216-8239.

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