The Genesis Program is a first-of-its-kind effort that will offer those interested in a career in health care a chance to see what it is like to work at Sanford Health.
Participants will be part of a four-week paid full-time rotational experience that includes three different jobs. The goal of Genesis will be to encourage community members to witness the health care provider’s mission, vision and values in action through working at Sanford.
“For many, it could be a fresh start,” said Courtney Sneller, Sanford Health’s executive director of talent acquisition. “It will allow individuals to branch out and to take career steps that they might never have had the courage to do up to this point. Now they can do it and feel supported while they’re doing it.”
Here is how it works:
Upon being accepted into the program, apprentices will get an opportunity to pick three jobs from a menu of 10 options and spend a week at each. The five-day stints will be followed by a “wrap-up” day between jobs that will allow for feedback both from the apprentice and the mentor they shadowed.
With mentors’ approval, participants will then have the opportunity accept a job within one of the departments they spent time in during their month in the program.
“Ultimately it’s a try-before-you-buy experience for those who are participating,” said Caitlin Eigenberg, Sanford Health talent acquisition administrator. “It can be mutually beneficial for both parties because the candidate gets to see the departments in action and the mentors get to know the apprentices as well.”
Candidates can familiarize themselves with day-to-day responsibilities and possible future teammates. They get a feel for what it is like to work at Sanford while finding out if there is a job that would be a good fit. Mentors, meanwhile, will be guiding apprentices through that process.
“Our ideal candidate is a member of the community with some work experience who is really looking to start a new career,” Eigenberg said. “That’s why we named it ‘Genesis.’ We really want to begin a career for people who may not yet know what our health care field looks like or may not think they that they possess the qualities or attributes in a health care role.”
Part of the value of the Genesis Program is that it broadens the definition of what it means to be involved in health care.
“Participants will realize there is more than one way to play a role in taking care of people – it is not just in the clinical space,” Sneller said. “It might be behind the scenes or up front helping our nurses and physicians. It’s a unique program that aligns with giving people an opportunity to potentially get multiple offers to start a new career.”
Participants will pick from the following jobs in the program:
- Maintenance mechanic
- Patient transporter
- Patient access representative
- Security officer
- Laboratory assistant
- Logistics technician
- Dialysis technician
- Durable medical equipment specialist
- Pharmacy technician
- Associate sterile processing technician
Candidates with high school diplomas are preferred but they are not required.
“Entering the health care field can be daunting if you haven’t done it before,” said Miranda Pfund, Sanford Health talent acquisition analyst. “For some, they’re going to be wondering how to begin.”
Candidates for apprenticeship
In designing the program, Pfund was a big part of an effort that started with conversations about adapting a health care internship model to an audience that might not have gone to college.
How could people looking for something different best address the challenges, regardless of age and circumstances, of starting a new career? What about it would stand in their way? And at Sanford, how would they eliminate those kinds of obstacles?
“We’re interested in giving this opportunity to all walks of life,” Pfund said. “Maybe it’s for a stay-at-home parent who wants to re-enter the workforce, or workers who want to leave behind a job that includes grueling physical labor. It is for all kinds of different community members – that’s a message we want to get across.”
Extensive research and collaboration between departments were necessary elements in kicking off an initiative that organizers hope they can expand after completing the pilot effort.
“Our team worked very hard on this project, and I think it is going to impact our community,” Sneller said. “I’m excited to see the potential that it could present in our other markets, too. I don’t see any program quite like this anywhere. It’s spectacular that we’re going to be able to offer these kinds of opportunities.”
Those interested are encouraged to visit the Sanford Careers site for more information on applying to be a Genesis apprentice.
“We want people to know we have roles here at Sanford that do not require a higher education and do not require health care experience,” Eigenberg said. “If you want to assist others and serve a bigger purpose, then this is the program for you.”
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