Capital Region BOCES job fair helps combat the healthcare worker shortage

Nearly 150 adults were matched with potential employers on Wednesday during a Capital Region BOCES Health Careers Jobs Fair for students in the Adult Health Careers program.

A person looking for a job stands and asks questions in front of a table of representatives listening to her interests.
A person looking for a job stands and asks questions in front of a table of representatives listening to her interests.

Healthcare providers from across the spectrum of services recruited students as they sought to counteract the impacts of the national nursing shortage. Employers on hand ranged from Albany Medical Center and Ellis Medicine to Community Care Physicians and even the Berkshire County Jail.

“We are hoping to hire nurses. It’s very hard to find workers these days,” said Nancy Pieraccini, Assistant Deputy Superintendent of Health Services for the Berkshire County Jail.

That difficulty and desire were shared by more traditional healthcare industry employers.

“It’s very hard to hire.  … There are so many jobs and so much need in this area,” said Sabrina Povental of the Kingsway Community.

A room full of representatives man tables as visitors walk around in search of a job.
Representatives from more than 30 healthcare entities man tables as prospective employees walk around in search of a job.

Student Agnes Exantus of Albany said she is hoping to find the right fit.

“I am looking at the variety of jobs out there, what they offer and what I can bring to them,” said the Albany resident.

Classmate Sharice Cosper said she is looking for an employer that will help her achieve her goal of being a nurse practitioner.

“I am going to be a nurse practitioner in six years. Write that down. So, I am looking to work in a hospital to gain experience and I am looking for places that offer tuition reimbursement,” the Schenectady resident said.

Two graduates of the Adult Practical Nursing program were among those on hand recruiting the current students.

Tierra Fryar and Shakirra Grant graduated last year from the Adult Practical Nursing program and currently work for Hudson Park in Albany. They joined Christine Lewis, Director of Human Resources for the healthcare provider in recruiting new practical nurses at the career fair.

“Last year I onboarded 13 graduates from BOCES, including Tierra and Shakirra, and they all did well. I am very pleased with the quality and the skills shown by the graduates of the BOCES program,” Lewis said.

Paula Negri, Director of Health Careers and Services at Capital Region BOCES, thanked the institutions for relying on BOCES to help them address the national healthcare worker shortage.

“This has been a great opportunity for students to get their name out there and find the right job for them and an equally great opportunity for employers to find well-trained workers ready to be hired,” she said.

Negri added that the job fair is an integral part of the BOCES experience for students.

“It’s all part of the BOCES model – educate, graduate, employ,” she said.