Employment Rebound

Job market heats up; health, tech jobs in demand

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Saige roberts

Tech companies such as Apple, retailers, financial firms and the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations were among the 200 employers who met with prospects at the FSU Seminole Futures career fair on Sept. 28. 


STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs are well represented on the list of top jobs but if you’re a history or English major don’t lose faith.

“We hire all majors,” said Teri-Anne Brennan, group talent acquisition manager for Enterprise Holdings, which expects to hire 50 to 60 FSU grads in 2018.

The company promotes from within so is looking for candidates with a good work ethic and professionalism, she said. “At the end of the day the most important thing is leadership,” said Brennan, a 2004 FSU graduate.

Industries will post about 14,000 job listings a year, said Myrna Hoover, director of FSU’s Career Center.

“There are opportunities out there,” said Shereada Harrell, director of the Career and Professional Development Center at Florida A&M University, which also held a job fair in September, featuring  more than 100 employers and nearly 900 students. “We just added 15 more companies than we had last year.”

Along with job fairs and career centers, a new free tool is available to help students assess their potential job outcome based on programs at public institutions and training programs. LaunchMyCareerFL.org highlights in-demand jobs, desirable skills and what students can expect based on their major. The initiative is a partnership with the Florida Chamber Foundation and the DEO, with funding by Strada Education Network.

“This is a piece of gold that has been given to the folks who work directly in schools,” said Rebecca Schumacher, executive director of the Florida School Counselor Association in a statement to the press.

In Leon County, 92.3 percent have a high school degree and 45 percent have a bachelor’s degree. But help is also available for people who haven’t graduated high school.

“We can help them through the GED process, pay the exam fees and help them figure out what to do next,” said Ruthann Campbell, marketing and communications coordinator for the state’s CareerSource program in the Capital region.  

“We’re essentially career coaches but we don’t cost anything,” she said. We help you get a job but our main goal is to get you a career, no matter your age.” Clients have ranged from 16 to over 70.

The career center steers people toward “in-demand careers,” said Campbell. “Those are the ones we pay for, the ones that are growing and have a large need. We’re not paying for jobs that won’t exist in five years.”

Identifying opportunities is just one of the roles of the state’s CareerSource program, which also helps with resumes, counseling and financial aid.

“It’s not a loan, it doesn’t have to be paid back,” said Campbell.

CareerSource Gulf Coast helped Heather Hunter pay for tuition, books and other costs so she could become a licensed practical nurse and later a registered nurse. She’s currently working as a case manager for Hospice Covenant Care in Panama City and pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Gulf Coast State College.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize that CareerSource provides this kind of help,” said Hunter, who wants to become a nurse practitioner. “If they hadn’t helped me I wouldn’t have been able to finish.”

Health professions offer growing opportunities at every level, said Campbell.

“Every single month, registered nursing is Number 1” on advertised job listings, she said.

“I knew I would never have a problem getting a job,” said aspiring nurse Shouppe. “But that wasn’t part of my thought process. Being a nurse is something I always wanted to do.”

The industry needs more people like Shouppe, said health administrators.

“There’s a shortage of nurses nationally so it’s always going to be a good field of study with guaranteed job placement,” said Dr. Stephanie Solomon, executive director of the Ghazvini Center for Healthcare Education and dean of healthcare professions at Tallahassee Community College. “There will always be a demand for nurses, but there will probably also be a demand for EMTs (emergency medical technicians) and paramedics.”

The nonclinical field of health information management is also growing rapidly, said Dr. Solomon. These technicians play a critical role in gathering, coding, managing and maintaining patient health information.

To expand its services, CareerSource Capital Region, along with local businesses, educational providers and economic development entities, have created a new Career Pathways Project to help people entering their first or second career find local training programs and financial aid opportunities.

Anyone interested in health science medical administration, for instance, can visit www.mycareerpathways.org and learn three possible options, with training and salary information, that could take you from entry level to higher skilled jobs.  

For instance, an entry level job as a medical administrative specialist, which requires a certificate and two semesters of training, will pay $10 to $11 per hour. The next steps — health informatics & information management and healthcare management will require a four-year degree but the salary range will increase from $20.19 to $58.44 per hour.

“Entry level jobs are different for every industry,” said Campbell, at CareerSource. “Retail looks very different from technology careers. And entry level positions can change very rapidly.”

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