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Epic turnout: Birmingham VA welcomes hundreds of new applicants

Epic turnout: Birmingham VA welcomes hundreds of new applicants
Hundreds of potential candidates line up at the Birmingham VA East Clinic in Irondale, Alabama Sept. 24, 2022 seeking employment with the Birmingham VA Health Care System. Over 160 job offers were made during the Job Fair, in 20 available position categories.

Over 750 potential candidates lined up as early as 6:30 a.m. Sept. 24, 2022, seeking employment with the Birmingham VA Health Care System. The event occurred at the Birmingham VA East Clinic in Irondale, Alabama.

"The amount of interested applicants here today proves that people want to work," said Jacquie Caron, BVAHCS Senior Strategic Business Partner and Chief of Human Resources. "We want them to work for us. There's no better mission than the one of VA, to serve our nation's heroes."

Dressed for success, applicants toted personal files showing experience and desire to join VA’s workforce. Resumes, records of military service, and transcripts were some essential documents provided to interviewers.

"Recent events, including the pandemic, have resulted in a shortage of health care workers and other professions," said Dr. Ladi Kukoyi, BVAHCS Executive Director. "This event allows us to connect with candidates who have a desire to serve. The Birmingham VA provides world-class health care to America's Veterans, and we hire awesome people because our Veterans deserve it."

Over 160 job offers were made during the event, with as many as 20 position categories available.  

The event's first on-the-spot hire, Theresa Turner, will serve BVAHCS as a nursing assistant. With 26 years of medical experience, the mental health technician received news of the hiring event from social media and arrived at 7:15 a.m., hoping to secure a position serving America's Veterans. Turner advised other attendees to "keep pushing," and she hoped everyone who responded waited patiently for their chance to interview. 

"What an opportunity," said Turner. "This was my time to apply, and I was third in line this morning and first hired. I feel so blessed and grateful."

In addition to all nursing specialties, open positions included administrative assistants, food service technicians, pharmacy technicians, housekeeping aids, HVAC technicians, supply technicians, radiology technicians, and more.

Alan Gooden heard of the job fair while watching the evening news. The Birmingham native hopes to attain an entry-level position as a supply tech. 

"My father, who is deceased, is a U.S. Air Force Veteran," said Gooden. "For me, not only will working for VA be a tribute to him, but it will offer me the chance to serve other Veterans."

Gooden noted the opportunities and benefits were also a factor in his decision to pursue a position with BVAHCS. "If you're looking for top-notch medical benefits and opportunities for advancement, VA is your place, I've heard," said Gooden.

Some positions at the Birmingham VA offer a sign-on bonus and education debt relief.

The Birmingham VA is a member of America's most extensive integrated health care delivery system and the fourth largest network in the Veterans Health Administration, VA Southeast Network (VISN 7).

The health care system employs more than 3,000 staff members who serve more than 71,000 Veteran patients each year in Alabama. In addition to the Medical Center, there are ten community-based outpatient clinics located in Bessemer, Childersburg, Shoals, Guntersville, Gadsden, Huntsville, Jasper, Anniston-Oxford, and two in Birmingham. 

"Hiring candidates dedicated to serving our nation's Veterans is one of the top priorities of VA," said Dr. David Walker, VISN 7 Director, as he greeted staff and participants during the event. "The willingness of these great people to stand in line, display their talents and skills, and unwavering intent to serve those who've sacrificed so much shows the equity Birmingham VA has built in the community."

With a historic number of job fair attendees, the BVAHCS staff regrets it was impossible to interview every participant. 

The resumes of candidates who did not receive a face-to-face meeting are being reviewed. Qualified candidates will be forwarded to the hiring manager for each career field. Applicants are advised to monitor www.USAJobs.gov for all future career opportunities with the Birmingham VA Health Care System. 

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