State department raises awareness about shrinking workforce

Maria Ly
Staff Writer

The Minnesota Department of Human Services hopes to create awareness and attract students in joining the shrinking workforce in human services through efforts such as information sessions held in Minnesota college campuses.

The MNDHS partnered with higher education facilities, local providers, and staff from local and state agencies specializing in developmental disabilities, autism, mental health disorders, etc. to hold information sessions for students interested in human services career.

At the information sessions students are given the chance to network, learn, and connect with many different people in human services and ask questions to learn more about the different sectors and career paths in the field.Students will have the chance to learn and make connections to different career and internship opportunities.

These information sessions are part of the MNDHS efforts in their workforce outreach. Many students are unaware of the benefits of the different opportunities in human services and the great need for providers in the field.

Stacy Twite, the MNDHS’s Assistant Commissioner for Community Supports, said, “We have a shortage of workers in human services and in some areas it’s difficult to provide services because of those workforce shortages, so we’ve been partnering with schools and universities, providers, and others, to increase awareness to students about different opportunities in the human services field.”

The workforce shortage in human services could lead to issues down the road for families who may need these services.

Families could face long wait times or an inability to access certain programs that could assist in their wellbeing and stability in their communities. Some families may have to travel a great distance to access these services and supports for their children.

One of the challenges the human services workforce faces is their difficulty with staff retention. This could be affected by reimbursement rates, lack of training to meet the demands of the position, and competition from other employers.However, a workforce shortage could be a problem that many industries face.Twite says, “It’s such a tight labor force market right now. We know there is a demand for workers across many different industries so I think we want to make sure there is information about human services jobs and the pathways that people choose, I think it’s part of the larger trend we’re seeing and the workforce overall and we hope to combat that with specific

information about the opportunities out there.

For students interested in human services careers, the MNHDS has more information about the field and different scholarship information here: https://bit.ly/2qe5JsW. Students can also learn more about loan forgiveness programs.The MNHDS is currently working with a professor in the Department of Psychology in hopes of hosting a meet and greet event at Minnesota State University, Mankato in the spring 2020 semester.

Meanwhile, the MNHDS hopes to continue spreading information about human service careers and recruit students with their next information session in Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

Twite said, “I hope people can learn more, ask a lot of questions, hopefully make a connection with an employer that’s hiring, have an on the job experience or internship opportunity, as a way to really try it out and ask some more of those questions they may have about this particular field.”

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