Looking for a job in behavioral health?

April 4, 2018

Maureen Fitzgerald
ATTC Network Coordinating Office/NIATx

You can job hunt from the comfort of  your own home at The Behavioral Health Virtual Job Fair, coming up on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. This online event is designed to help you connect with potential employers in areas with limited access to care.

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) is offering the Virtual Job Fair (VJF) to make it easier for employers and job seekers to find each other, says Leah Henao, Branch Chief, Outreach, Recruitment and Partnership Branch, Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Resources & Services Administration.

 Too many Americans—particularly in underserved areas—go without checkups, preventive screenings, vaccines, routine dental work and other care, simply because there are not enough providers. The Virtual Behavioral Health Job Fair aims to connect behavioral health professionals with employers in high-need urban, rural, or frontier communities. 
“HRSA funds many grants that go to academic institutions that support the training of behavioral health providers,” says Henao, adding that the purpose of the grant programs are to develop and expand the behavioral health workforce serving populations across the lifespan, including in rural and medically underserved areas. Students and clinicians who benefit from these grants are then encouraged to find employment in an underserved community where interprofessional approaches are used to provide patient care.

Targeting Specific Behavioral Health Positions and Professional Shortage Areas

This first-ever behavioral health-specific VJF is seeking for specific positions, ranging from psychiatrists to social workers and nursing professionals who specialize in psychiatry, mental health, or behavioral health.

“We have chosen those professions because they are supported through HRSA’s National Health Service Corps and Nurse Corps, and they are eligible for potential scholarship and loan repayment opportunities,” says Henao. 

A follow-up VJF is tentatively scheduled for Fall 2018 where the types of positions recruited may be expanded to include paraprofessionals as well.

HRSA Workforce Connector image

Health Workforce Connector

The VJF relies on HRSA’s Health Workforce Connector, the online database of all positions known to be currently open.  

One hundred organizations that are on the Health Workforce Connector will be recruiting during the VJF.  These organizations will be located in a Health Professional Shortage Areas, use a sliding fee scale, among other similar characteristics.

This group of employers represent only a portion of those who are registered on the Health Workforce Connector, says Henao.  There are nearly 1,000 employers nationwide who are hiring for behavioral health providers; not including those hiring for medical and dental positions as well.

“We’re hoping that job candidates will explore the Health Workforce Connector to find out more about all the opportunities currently available,” says Henao.

How to Prepare for the VJF

Job seekers should first complete a profile on the Health Workforce Connector, and then register for the VJF. Once registered, participants will receive an email with a link to login for the evening of the event.

“We scheduled the VJF in the evening (6:45pm-10:15pm ET) to accommodate the schedules of candidates who are currently working or in school during the day,” says Henao.

The VJF will begin with a 15-minute welcome from HRSA, followed by the opportunity to listen to presentations by the participating employers.

10 virtual “rooms” will be available for recruiting sessions, and each employer will have a 15-minute presentation opportunity. Job seekers will be able to navigate from room to room to listen to presentations.

“These connections will lead to outside conversations and follow-up calls,” says Henao, adding that the event is designed to provide a great education on what it means to work in a Health Professional Shortage Areas.

“We think there’s a great opportunity for those seeking a career to understand the benefits of working at a Federally Qualified Health Center or an American Indian health facility, for example,” she adds. “The VJF can help break down some barriers for both the employer and potential employees.”

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