Where the jobs are: health care

The Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance has announced a new workforce initiative called HealthWORx, a collaborative effort between five health care facilities in southwest Louisiana and the alliance’s Workforce Development Committee. The goal is to increase awareness of, and interest in, the wide range of career opportunities in the health care industry in southwest Louisiana. Participating hospitals are Beauregard Memorial Hospital, DeQuincy Memorial Hospital, Jennings American Legion Hospital, Lake Area Medical Center and Lake Charles Memorial Health System.

Health care professionals are among the workers most in demand across the country, and Louisiana is no exception. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses, for example, is projected to grow 19%—faster than the average of any other occupation. The Louisiana Center for Nursing reports that could mean a major shortage of nurses. 

“Nursing is just one of many, many career paths in the health care field where opportunity exists for someone in search of a well-paying, secure career path,” says R.B. Smith, vice president of workforce development for the alliance. “Not all health care careers require a 4-year degree, and not all of the thousands of people working in our local health care facilities wear lab coats or scrubs. People tend to think just of patient care jobs when they think of health care careers, but there are many, many different types of jobs available in health care, from business managers and marketing to information technology and engineers. With the tremendous economic growth southwest Louisiana is experiencing—and will continue to see for over the next decade—our regional health care providers are facing the same challenges as other industry when it comes to finding qualified employees. That’s what HealthWORx is all about—to ensure that we have a qualified workforce to meet the current and future demand of the health care industry in our region.

Louisiana health care employment makes up 9.7% of jobs in the state, ranking 15th nationally. Smith says jobs in health care typically come with excellent benefits packages, opportunity for training and advancement, job security, and many other advantages that should appeal to someone in search of a good career.

The new HealthWORX web page at healthworxswla.org provides information on health care careers, training programs and links to job openings at participating health care facilities. An awareness campaign is underway on social media to provide education about the wide variety of employment opportunity in the health care field.

 —Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance