Job Fair Attendees Urged to Go Online

Several hundred health care job hunters lined up for information at a River Rouge employment fair today, only to find out many of the 1,400 positions touted as available were for people with more training and clinical job skills than they had.

The lesson: If you want an immediate entry-level job in health care, commit yourself daily to searching for jobs because they may be the hardest to get, as thousands of job seekers flood the market.

For most jobs, from medical billing clerks and surgical technicians, to physical therapists and registered nurses, you have to be willing to return to school and most people will have to pay for it themselves, unless they come from an industry where they lost a job due to foreign competition and qualify for federal help.

More than 500 people turned out for the event sponsored by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Detroit, at River Rouge High School. “Health care is the one industry that is hiring,” said Cheeks Kilpatrick. The event was the largest of several job fairs she has hosted.

“I hope to get something that’s recession-proof,” said Mark Brisker, 50, of Dearborn, who is unemployed after a 10-year military career and a job as a chemical plant operator. He left with information about medical billing courses.

Ruth Hoskins, a nurse recruiter from Botsford Hospital, Farmington Hills, was among the few taking resumes from the job seekers. She said she had about 10 openings for entry-level jobs, such as nursing assistants and patient transporters. She encouraged people to go to hospital Web sites daily because job openings change frequently.

Reginald Stewart, a University of Phoenix, Southfield campus, job development manager, encouraged job seekers to go for two-year programs in health care management so students have more flexibility to rise in health care ranks. Those with training limited to a specific job “can’t advance. They get stuck,” he said.

Brittany Oden, 21, a freshman at Eastern Michigan University, hoped to find a job to help her get her foot in the door of a hospital while she attends school. “I came here for a job and didn’t get one,” she said. “There was more information than jobs. We were told to check online” for jobs, she said. (freep.com)

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