HealthWORx intiative to address job shortage in region’s health care industry

Ashley Wolf

The Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance has launched a workforce initiative called HealthWORx to address the job shortage in the region’s health care industry.

The campaign is a collaborative effort between the alliance and five health care facilities in Southwest Louisiana: Beauregard Memorial Hospital, DeQuincy Memorial Hospital, Jennings American Legion Hospital, Lake Area Medical Center and Lake Charles Memorial Health System. 

According to the HealthWorx website — http://allianceswla.org/healthworx — there are over 200 jobs between these five facilities, ranging from “ER nurses and medical assistants to business managers and maintenance specialists.”

Michelle McInnis, the alliance’s regional business and workforce development director, said HealthWORx isn’t only seeking to fill hundreds of jobs, but to fill them with local employees. 

“Our main goal is to emphasize that health care in Southwest Louisiana is a good job, a stable job and a job that ranges from entry level to professional,” McInnis said.

According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, there are about 90 registered nurse jobs a year in the region, and there are expected to be 3,065 more health care jobs in the area by 2022 — a 19.4 percent increase.

The problem hospitals face is finding employees who have the training and credentials to fill the positions.

To combat this problem, HealthWORx partnered with Sowela Technical Community College, McNeese State University, Delta Tech and Unitech Training academy to create programs and opportunities for students interested in medical careers.

“There is no one close in our state that offers the surgery tech curriculum, so Sowela has actually looked into that to see what they would need to do and is developing the curriculum for their Jennings location,” McInnis said. “That’s how (HealthWORx) kind of pulls everybody together to get what they need.”

Lisa Guerrero, director of marketing and public relations at Lake Area Medical Center, said HealthWORx is a “one-stop shop” for people looking to enter careers in health care or work at health care facilities in other capacities by “providing a pathway” for job applicants.

“For example, it will say this is what you need to become an information technology technician or a radiology tech,” Guerrero said. “It says, ‘This is what you would need, this is the typical salary, and these are the jobs that are currently available right here at home.’ So (job applicants) could have access to the different hospitals and all of their jobs postings and know exactly what the criteria is to apply for these jobs.”

According to the alliance, the HealthWORx site has had over 5,700 visits since launching in April, and the click-through rate is seven times the national average. 

“I think the idea of the area hospitals working together to keep the interest in health care, to keep the people in Southwest Louisiana employed in health care -— it only helps all of us,” Guerrero said. “It’s just really good that all of the hospitals are working together to reach the same goal.”

McNeese Sports

Wade adds ex-Syracuse guard to roster

McNeese Sports

UIW stuns Cowgirls

Crime

5/8: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

Louisiana lawmakers reject adding exceptions of rape and incest to abortion ban

Local News

Driver killed in single-vehicle I-10 crash

Local News

Mobile Makerspace: A one-of-a-kind classroom on wheels

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column: Insurance is voters’ nightmare

Business

$2.2 million grant awarded to Coushatta Tribe for high-speed internet access

Informer

The Informer: Pro-Palestinian protesters want schools to pressure Israel

McNeese Sports

Westenburg leads Cowboy onslaught

Local News

Judges say they’ll draw new Louisiana election map if lawmakers don’t by June 3

Business

TikTok sues US to block law that could ban the social media platform

Local News

Oasis A Safe Haven opens for first time since 2020 hurricane

Local News

Stormy Daniels describes meeting Trump during occasionally graphic testimony in hush money trial

Local News

Speaker Johnson delivers address at US Holocaust Memorial Days of Remembrance ceremony

life

McNeese names spring 2024 outstanding graduates 

Crime

5/7: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

WEATHER WATCH: Cold front, thunderstorms expected on Thursday

life

Sowela offering emergency medical training at Leesville campus

Local News

Boy Scouts of America changing name to more inclusive Scouting America after years of woes

Business

But Wait, There’s More: National Center for LNG Safety to be located in LC, too

life

Local teen graduating two years early, has $1M in scholarship offers

Local News

Fort Johnson a driving economic force for central, SW La.

Local News

A groundbreaking day: LNG Center of Excellence now under construction