PISCATAWAY, NJ—The second annual New Jersey Health Care Industry Week, held during National Public Health Week, opened with a free job fair on April 7 at Rutgers Univeristy's Busch Campus Center.
More than 30 employers were on site networking with more than 300 attendees interested in exploring healthcare professions.
The job fair focused on making people aware of opportunities in behavioral health and was the first of five events scheduled around the state last week.
The New Jersey Health Care Talent Network, funded by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development organizes New Jersey Health Care Industry Week.
Jobs in the mental health professions are projected to grow 37 percent, over the next six years, says Padma Arvind, Director of the N.J. Health Care Talent Network.
“You do not need to have an M.D. or a Ph.D. to start working in the health care industry. There are many entry level jobs that require an undergraduate degree or GED,” says Arvind.
“People can start at the entry level and work their way up. There are many entry jobs like patient navigators, community health workers, and scribers that are in demand due to changes in demographics throughout the country as well as policy changes.”
The job fair began with remarks from Rutgers University President Robert Barchi, as well as Aaron Fichtner, deputy commissioner at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Dr. Vasudev Maskhija, a clinical professor at Seton Hall University, Jim Norris, the director of community outreach at Rutgers Medical School, and Dr. Susan J. Schurman, dean of Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations.
"New Jersey’s expanding health care industry is a key component to the state’s economic growth and future prosperity,” said Harold J. Wirths, Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
“As one of the priority industry sectors identified by our labor analysts, my department created the Health Care Talent Network to build strong connections with employers to identify the skills, education and training they need from prospective employees so that our education and training institutions can train and prepare our workforce for those emerging jobs.”
Employers included Carrier Clinic, Preferred Home Health Care & Nursing Services, Saint Peter’s University Hospital, and WebTeam Corporation. Health care career stations were provided to highlight the industry’s various mental health professions – from psychiatry and clinical social work to counseling, marriage and family therapy.
Free mental health screenings for bullying and depression were given to visitors, many of whom were high school and university students.