BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Baton Rouge Health District will receive funding for a new workforce development initiative over the next three years.

“You can have a career and never have to leave Baton Rouge,” said Senior Vice President and Business Development at Baton Rouge General, Paul Douglas.

The Baton Rouge Health District will receive $500K to recruit and retain local healthcare workers.

“Not everyone will be the right fit for a career in healthcare,” said Operations Director at the Baton Rouge Health District, Katie Pritchett.

Despite healthcare being one of the fastest-growing industries, medical professionals say there is a shortage of workers across the nation. Mostly due to burnout, retirees, and having more options for employment.

“COVID played a part in that where people are re-thinking, ‘what is it that I want to do?'” said Pritchett.

According to Douglas, there is value in keeping people local and filling hospital vacancies in the Capital Region.

“Louisiana has populated many great healthcare facilities across the nation,” said Douglas. “And a lot of times they just need a reminder and a method to come back.”

The goal is to recruit certified professionals, train middle-skilled workers like medical assistants and CNAs, and provide programs to students in high school and college.

“If we can bring people to the area and keep them here, then for generations we can have a much stronger workforce and a more vibrant community,” said Pritchett.

Douglas came to Baton Rouge nearly 30 years ago. The people, food, culture, and work-life balance have persuaded him to stay all these years. He hopes the reason he stayed, will also keep others here as well.

“If you have a passion for people. You’re the type of individual that wants to do challenging work but meaningful work, talk to us,” said Douglas.

The Baton Rouge Health District encourages you to get into a healthcare program at your institution or high school. You can also contact the Baton Rouge Health District office.