Courageous Conversations: Defining the Baby Boomer Issue

Workforce

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — An emphasis on the employment rate is continually one of the factors of a thriving nation. Yet as we move into a new era in technology and society, a new issue regarding employment has risen. It’s something Ryan Mooney, with the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce has kept his eye on for some time now. 

“There are a significant number of people leaving the workforce, just by the makeup of generations falling into the workforce,” says Ryan Mooney, Springfield Chamber. “There aren’t many people. Not enough to fill the vacancies that our economy is creating.”

Specialized jobs are left open now, as a baby boomers continue to retire. It’s an issue that has been recognized not just in Springfield, but throughout the nation. 

Gov. Mike Parson has this to say, “We’re trying to figure how do we give them skills they need to be successful in high demand jobs.”

Ryan Mooney adds, “We’re seeing all industries suffering from a lack of available workers and that’s not specific to Springfield, its national.”

The nursing industry noticed this trend years ago, and there are fears that the situation will get worse before it gets better. Celeste Cramer works with recruitment and retention at Cox Health, and says the remedies to try and fix this are continually changing. 

“Our overall recruiting strategy evolves on a daily basis, depending on what’s happening with the daily market.” says Cramer, “One of the things that we’re the most passionate about, is growing talent locally.”

She goes on to say, “Jobs like nursing require more than just a general degree before you enter the field. Specialized education is necessary, so while the need to fill jobs still exists, employers have also made it a focus to fill classrooms.”

“So it’s not all about finish your eeducation and get a job, its more a process about how you can continually learn and changing your skills.” says Ryan Mooney.

“We work with a lot of different colleges to help expand those programs. Recently MSU has changed and is expanding their nursing program, and Cox College is almost doubling their capacity in nursing students. So we think that will have a big impact on their ability to fill those positions.” adds Cramer.

Hannah Reilly is in her fourth semester in Cox College’s nursing program. For her, it’s a career path she’s always wanted to follow, but understands the need that is required. 

“People are living longer. We are able to cure and treat diseases that ten or 20 years ago, we couldn’t manage.” explains Reilly. “So people are living longer and healthier, so I would say it’s even more important now that we have the nurses to support that. It’s a little daunting that there is a shortage because that can impact some of the patient care, or being able to provide the best patient care that we can.”

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