Ohio health system lowers hiring age to 16 to fill workforce gaps

Columbus, Ohio-based Mount Carmel Health System said it is taking a two-pronged approach toward recruiting that includes hiring workers younger than 18. 

The organization is "focusing on finding the next generation of healthcare workers and providing support to our current workforce," Rachel Barb, the health system's regional director of talent acquisition, told Becker's via email. "By strengthening and retaining seasoned healthcare professionals, the next generation will learn from experience."

Mount Carmel moved toward hiring workers younger than 18 at the end of last year, with the long-term goal of raising awareness about healthcare employment possibilities. Ms. Barb said it also wants to inspire young people to consider nursing, surgical tech and laboratory science programs, among other fields.

Mount Carmel will launch its inaugural patient-facing role for those 16 and older this spring and expects the first training class at the end of June.  

Before September 2021, Mount Carmel said it only hired applicants who were 18 or older. 

"However, after thoughtful discussions with our local workforce development partners, we garnered the appropriate support to reduce our hiring age to 16, which opened the door for those interested in launching their careers in healthcare to join the Mount Carmel team," said Ms. Barb.

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