‘Project Employment Hope’ comes to Tri-Cities

Published 8:17 am Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Local unemployed and underemployed individuals in the Tri-Cities may soon have Hope.
Mountain States Health Alliance has announced its plan to work with a number of local nonprofit organizations to offer employment opportunities to area residents looking for jobs — Project Employment Hope.
The project, organized by the MSHA human resources department, will afford those living with disabilities or living at or below the poverty line an opportunity to work and develop skills.
“There are many people in our community who have a desire to serve patients with skills that could be of great value to our organization,” said Jamie Parsons, vice president for human resources at Mountain States. “We want to make sure we’re not missing any opportunities to bring these folks into our organization and put their talents to use. It’s a mutual opportunity for us to help each other.”
Available positions will be in environmental services, housekeeping, dietary service and transport departments.
Some community agencies that will help identify potential candidates are Good Samaritan Ministries, Alliance for Business and Training, the Veterans Administration, First United Methodist Church, Johnson City Public Library, United Way, Dawn of Hope, the Summit Leadership Foundation and Family Promise. These organizations will refer prospective employees to the Mountain States Employment Center, where staff is available to help them apply online for job openings.
“One of the first things potential applicants receive is personal coaching on how to effectively apply online for a job,” said Barbara Gemar, corporate leave management coordinator. “These skills go beyond any immediate employment opportunity and help better prepare them for the competitive job market of today’s world.”
MSHA staff will also help candidates understand the positions for which they are qualified.
Parsons said they try not to limit individuals to certain types of work and that a committee helps guide hiring. All full- and part-time positions are available to these candidates and include jobs of varying skill levels.
Those interested must meet standard Mountain States hiring requirements such as being tobacco- and drug-free. Parsons said they have a program designed to help people quit smoking so they may be eligible to apply. This is just one example of a number of programs to help people understand their eligibility and to assist them with career placement.
“In addition to helping them get jobs, we’re helping them to better prepare themselves for the workforce,’ said Parsons.
If hired, individuals will participate in orientation and related training. MSHA employees enjoy 100 percent tuition coverage, along with a number of other benefits.
“Sycamore Shoals hired one of our veterans from the Veterans Administration and he worked out great,” said Parsons. “The V.A. has several hundred veterans living over at the domiciliary who are struggling to get back into the workforce. So we started there, and then that was the genesis of my thought to expand this to more than just V.A.”
Fifty people attended a job fair in Johnson City, from which 20 applied for jobs and two have already had interviews.
For more information, contact the Mountain States Employment Center at 3135 Peoples St., Johnson City, located near Barberitos, or call the center at 423-302-3299 on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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