Why hospital targets military veterans to fill jobs

LEBANON, N.H. (WCAX) Students at Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Workforce Readiness Institute are preparing to graduate from an 11-week course. Not only are they getting paid to train, but they are guaranteed jobs when it's over.

"A lot of people think low unemployment is a good thing and a sign of good economic growth, but when we are in an employee-constrained environment, we can't grow and health care is doing nothing but growing," said Jenny Macaulay, a workforce development consultant at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

In the front row of this classroom- Marine Corps veteran Jacalyn Hastings.

"I tried college; it wasn't for me," Hastings said. "It was just too slow-paced."

So, she decided to be a medical assistant with a starting pay of $14.50 an hour.

Nearby, surgical assistants are also being trained. Hastings says it's a career path she is considering.

The Workforce Readiness Institute is around five years old but it has a new focus on veterans.

"When I got out of the Marine Corps, lots of loving family around but it's just not the same community feeling," Hastings said.

Hospital officials say a lot of the jobs in the military translate to health care, including nonclinical fields like engineering and operations.

Zac Conaway is an Army veteran who works in the facility's waste management department.

"One of the big things that veterans find when they leave active service is they have a very large struggle of trying to find a place for them to put down roots and make their home," Conaway said.

And it's not just about finding them jobs. The hospital is also working to strengthen engagement initiatives for veterans who already work here. Navy veteran Amanda Steele is a supervisor of clinical engineering.

"Having a network of veterans helps you understand that a lot of the skills that you had in the military and that you gained from the military do translate over," Steele said.

Wednesday, Dartmouth-Hitchcock is holding an expo for veterans and their families, as well as the general public, with hands-on exhibits of the opportunities that are available. Officials say to have your resume ready because if you are the right fit, you could be hired on the spot. Click here for more information.