Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina and the Mission Health System, based in Asheville, have taken their long-standing partnership in training and hiring healthcare workers to new levels, with an innovative recruiting program that quickly matches hiring needs with properly credentialed candidates. Mission’s Environmental Services (EVS) division teamed with Goodwill staff to share detailed information regarding hiring needs and job requirements, resulting in “pre-hire” workshops at Goodwill. The events provided an opportunity for students to interact with Mission staff. Following the workshops, students were offered on-the-spot interviews and even prospective jobs at Mission.
Mission’s leadership role in this collaboration was publicly recognized when Goodwill presented its 2015 Employer of the Year Award to Mission Health at its Annual Recognition Banquet late last year in Winston-Salem, where Goodwill is headquartered. The partnership is credited with helping to alleviate a shortfall of qualified healthcare workers in western North Carolina. Additionally, Mission Health staff have chaired Goodwill’s Business Advisory Council since 2011. The Business Advisory Council helps to keep Goodwill abreast of local labor market needs and sector-specific trends, ensuring that training offerings stay relevant and flexible to the needs of local employers.
Over the years, Mission Health has hired hundreds of Goodwill program participants, including students that have successfully earned credentials and/or completed training courses in areas such as: Certified Nursing Assistant, Electronic Health Records, Phlebotomy, Medical Terminology, Medical Office Pathways, In-Home Health Aide, Hospitality START, Guest Service Gold, and Serve Safe Certification. Select certifications offered at Goodwill require students to develop and practice newly learned skills in actual healthcare environments. Mission Health provides the vital clinical sites for Goodwill students, making Mission a key partner in the success of Goodwill’s training.
No one exemplifies the value of this training more than past program graduate, Kim Stepp. For 23 years, Kim had a good job in administration and human resources at a manufacturing facility. After she was laid off, she spent the next six months struggling with uncertainty. Through her sister, Kim learned of Goodwill’s skills training classes and prepared for a new career in healthcare, taking courses such as Electronic Medical Records, Medical Office Pathways, and Medical Terminology.
After gaining the required credentials, Kim was hired by Mission Hospital in October 2012 as a Health Information Management (HIM) Specialist. In her new career, Kim generates medical records for attorneys, doctors, and disability claimants. Kim loves her job and believes her greatest achievement lies in starting over in a new field in the latter stages of her career.
Apparently the feeling is mutual. Janice Powell, Medical Records Manager at Mission Health, had this to say about Kim: “I firmly believe the opportunity to do work you love does not always become a reality. But in Kim’s case she tells me often that she loves her job, and it shows. The training Kim received from Goodwill was evident within the first couple of hours here. She had strong computer skills and knowledge of the Medical Records process. I knew the first day she would succeed in her role and, three years later, Kim’s ‘can do’ attitude and strong work ethic are still going strong.”
Goodwill is thrilled with the continued partnership with Mission Health, and looks forward to continuing the collaboration well into the future.