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Minnesota hoping to fill 45,000 open health care jobs to prevent crisis

Minnesota workforce agencies pushing to fill tens of thousands of healthcare jobs
Minnesota workforce agencies pushing to fill tens of thousands of healthcare jobs 02:17

MINNEAPOLIS -- A better-than-expected jobs report shows U.S. employers added 339,000 jobs in May. That's the best growth since January, with gains in construction, leisure and hospitality, and health care.

But Minnesota's workforce agencies are making a push to fill tens of thousands of open health care jobs, hoping to avoid a care crisis.

"We can't be in a situation where nursing and residential care facilities are closing just as more and more people are needing those kind of services," said Oriane Casale, Assistant Director of the Minnesota DEED Labor Market Information Office.

But that's the reality facing Minnesota's healthcare system unless something changes fast. 

According to the Department of Employment and Economic Development, there are more than 45,000 open jobs in the state's biggest job field.

"Home health aides and personal care aides, that's the signal largest occupation in Minnesota. It's over 100,000 workers strong. It had some of the highest numbers of job vacancies," Casale said.

Right now, there are more than 9,000 open jobs just for home health and personal care aides, and thousands more for nursing assistants, LPNS and RNs.

Wages may be a factor, but even RNs, who make the most of the four groups, still have the second-highest number of openings. 

"Nursing and residential care facilities have been really hit hard. Those jobs are very fulfilling but also very challenging. Wages had been really quite low coming into and out of the pandemic," Casale said.

The state has launched a campaign to get more people interested in a career in one of these roles -- it's a field they say won't be seeing layoffs anytime soon.

"We have an aging population in Minnesota," Casale said. "There are more older people and that's going to continue over the next couple decades. And so that creates a situation where we need more of these caring professionals."

More than 25% of nursing jobs in Minnesota are filled by new Americans. 

The state is also targeting high school graduates since a diploma and training are all that's needed for most entry-level roles. 

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