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Unemployment hits new low since 1998 as CHI Health looks to fill more positions

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 9:48 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Nebraska Department of Labor is hoping to fill over 40,000 jobs in Nebraska. But according to NDOL, only 26,000 Nebraskans are technically unemployed.

The profession that needs people the most is nursing.

CHI Health has over 1,100 jobs opening across the system, according to NDOL.

CHI Health Division VP of Nursing, Tim Plante, said, “I think by the very nature of our size, we’re going to have the most positions open.”

Officials with CHI said they employ roughly 15,000 people in Nebraska, 3,500 of which are nurses.

Even with a shortage of nurses in Nebraska already, health officials expect it only to get worse.

“By 2030, it’s projected to be about 5,000 nurses short in Nebraska,” Plante said.

The Nebraska Dept. of Labor is pushing for those unemployed to get into H3 jobs. This includes food service, real estate, truckers and health care.

Reemployment Services Administrator for NDOL, Bobbi Jo Howard, said, “We’ve also been working quite a bit with employers who need assistance and helping them with on the job training, customize training, worker training grants.”

For CHI Health, the issue isn’t just getting employees in the door, but also keeping current ones from walking out.

Plante said, “The new nurses going into the profession is not going to match the rate of the nurses leaving the profession. There’s a shortage of instructors so in our colleges of nursing we don’t have enough instructors.”

Nebraska’s unemployment rate may currently be at its lowest since 1998 at 2.6 percent, but labor officials say not just health care, but all industries need more workers.

CHI Health wants to assure people they have all the staffing to take care of everyone in their hospitals.

They are using creative incentives for future health professionals including monetary incentives and loan forgiveness programs.

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