CareerSTAT Academy Member Spotlight: Mercy Health

CareerSTAT Healthcare Workforce Development Academy

Beginning in November 2017, CareerSTAT brought together 11 healthcare organizations for the CareerSTAT Healthcare Workforce Development Academy. This year-long learning experience helps healthcare organizations develop more diverse talent pipelines, better retain and advance their entry-level staff, and proactively fill critical healthcare positions. An initiative of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, CareerSTAT is a network of nearly 300 healthcare professionals who are committed to advancing healthcare’s frontline workers. The Academy supports CareerSTAT’s goal to accelerate the adoption of business practices that support frontline worker education, training, and advancement. Over the coming months, we are profiling each of the Academy participants and their progress. Read profiles of other CareerSTAT Academy Members here

Mercy Health

Building Strong Communities and Families

The Overview

As a nonprofit health care system serving the Michigan communities of Grand Rapids, Muskegon, the Lakeshore, and surrounding areas, Mercy Health is a vital employer in the region. They are committed to being a good employer, and that starts with investing in the people in their western Michigan communities and building a diverse local talent pipeline. With 950 entry-level employees, Mercy Health offers development programs and other opportunities for frontline workers to advance their career.

The Work

When families are secure, communities are healthier and stronger. The first step to security is ensuring families have an income that supports their basic needs. Although the figure varies by locale, a family of four needs an income that is more than 200 percent above the federal poverty level (or about $51,000) to meet necessities. Mercy Health recognizes the individual, family and community hardships that occur when wages don’t cover basic needs. Housing, food, transportation, and child care are all costs that add up and can cause those in entry-level positions to struggle.

With a focus on improving the lives of those in their community, Mercy Health looked to identify and remove barriers to career advancement. A centerpiece of these efforts is their Reach Out – Investigate – Seek Out– Elevate (R.I.S.E. Up) program. This partnership between Mercy Health, Grand Rapids-based nonprofit The SOURCE, and West Michigan Works! aims to advance frontline workers and provide a path to family-sustaining wages. The program, funded in part by W.K. Kellogg Foundation, offers career coaching, as well as support services to all program participants, related to housing, transportation, child care, personal credit, and other barriers. Mercy Health knows that lifting up staff members economically will encourage a healthy community. Employees who feel taken care of ultimately take better care of the patients who rely on Mercy Health.

The Results

Mercy Health’s approach is family-worker forward, which means supporting career advancement is not just about one employee. Mercy Health is building an on-site career center facility that will serve as the human resource epicenter as well as a collaborative space for Mercy Health training partners as well as the community.

Taking a holistic approach to hiring, training, and upskilling workers through a network of partners ensures workers have a place to go to understand what a career in healthcare can look like and to get the support necessary to upskill and advance.

Mercy Health is creating a culture where advancing is not something only a few can achieve.

The Future

Mercy Health is continuing to develop and refine an excellent package for frontline workers and their families. For prospective employees, Mercy Health is working hard to recruit from within the community, with a goal to hire 300 people who live in the surrounding neighborhoods by June 2020. Happy families make healthy communities and Mercy Health is walking the walk.