Beneficiary

Salem Hospital Workforce Development, a division of Human Resources, is committed to ensuring a highly qualified and diverse pipeline of health care professionals, while providing economic opportunity within the communities we serve. Our mission is to help individuals explore and pursue health care careers as well as to broaden their skills and continue to grow personally and professionally. Our efforts are focused on three main channels: programs for youth, described below, programs for community residents, and programs for current employees.

For specific information on Salem Hospital’s Workforce Development programs please click here.

Leading by example: Salem Hospital welcomes Haitian migrants to its team

Filling housekeeping positions in its Environmental Services department, especially for certain shifts, had long been a struggle for Salem Hospital. With various issues contributing to a talent shortage in Massachusetts, from an aging population to more and more working-age adults leaving the state, addressing this challenge required some creative problem-solving.

The solution has involved turning to some people who recently arrived in the country. In February, the hospital offered housekeeping jobs to six Haitian migrants living at a nearby shelter. Four more Haitian migrants are being onboarded and are expected to join the same department soon. Pictured here is Kensonn Brutal, who is grateful for his job in Environmental Services at Salem Hospital.

MJ Ryan, vice president of Mass General Brigham Workforce Development, said that as the state’s largest employer, Mass General Brigham can serve as a role model for other organizations facing similar workforce-related challenges.

“It’s not easy. We’ve only hired six people so far,” Ryan said. “But those six hires change the lives of six families. It gives six people the opportunity to build a career and inspires others to follow in their footsteps. And it inspires other employers, both hospitals and non-hospitals, to see what we’re doing and try to follow suit. We need to show everyone what’s possible when you open your minds — and doors.”

The North Shore is currently home to more than 1,000 newly arrived migrants. Almost 400 reside temporarily at a shelter at the Bates Complex, formerly part of Salem State University. Over 600 more have been placed in area hotels. Many of these individuals are Haitians who came here to escape poverty and violence in their homeland.

As part of its community outreach efforts, Mass General Brigham has been working to support the medical needs of the local migrant population. For instance, the Salem Hospital Community Care Van team has been hosting regular on-site clinics. The system has also connected many of the sheltered residents to local primary care providers.

Mass General Brigham is also focused on the migrants’ employment needs. The system recently committed $120,000 to match state funding managed by MassHire Metro South/West to launch a partnership with JVS Boston. This initiative provides workforce training and job coaching at shelters near Salem and Newton-Wellesley Hospitals.

Meanwhile, Mass General Brigham Community Health awarded $100,000 to the nonprofit agency Centerboard to fund English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) courses, train staff members on helping people secure workforce authorization and more.

Through these efforts, Salem Hospital saw the opportunity to recruit for housekeeping positions. Environmental Services Manager Stephane Kpalou was among those who conducted interviews with the Haitian migrants, all of whom had relevant experience for the roles.

“I’d never seen a bunch of people so eager to find work,” Kpalou said. “They also had many skills, including speaking multiple languages — Haitian Creole, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese. And they were willing to work right away, including on the overnight shift, which has been really hard to fill.”

Kpalou stressed that while the new employees are committed to excelling in their current roles, they’re also focused on future growth. One, for example, has an accounting background and has already conducted informational interviews with finance staff at the hospital. Others have begun courses to become certified nursing assistants. Like all Mass General Brigham employees, these employees can access academic/career coaching, more ESOL classes and college preparation courses free of charge.

Joy Livramento-Bryant, workforce development specialist at Mass General Brigham/Salem Hospital, said that all employees in the Environmental Services department are hard workers — and that the migrant employees have fit right in.

“They have the same goals as all of us,” Livramento-Bryant said. “They want to work hard, to succeed and to provide for their families. But more importantly, they’re loving their jobs. They’re smiling every day, and they’re doing exceptionally well.”