How Rush is creating access to quality job opportunities in healthcare for our moms & beyond

Chanel Smith (second from the right) with New Moms Job Training participants on December 13, 2019 at New Moms’ Transformation Center in Chicago, IL.

By: Ashlee Krawczyk, Employer Engagement Specialist

In our last employer spotlight, we highlighted Christian Harris’ work towards creating a more equitable and accessible workplace for his employees at MaidPro. By adjusting schedules and setting clear expectations, Harris established an environment of flexibility and communication — two things everyone needs to be successful at work, especially young mothers.

Based on our 24 years of workforce development experience, we know those aren’t the only factors that lead to success for young moms. Company culture and values are every bit as important to a mom’s prosperity as a flexible schedule. 

At New Moms, we acknowledge the intersections of race and poverty through our own commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and it is important that our employer partners not only value diversity, but also embrace, understand and work towards equity in their workplace. We want to partner with companies and organizations who are committed to closing gaps and bridging divides. 

Rush University Medical Center is a good example of how to build equity in the workplace. Rush is one of the top healthcare providers in the nation with three main hospital sites across Chicagoland. Rush has a deep understanding of the social disparities faced by Chicago’s West Side communities and has committed to working with organizations like New Moms to develop health equity and close the life expectancy gap.

This past year, Rush implemented the Rush Community Application Hub (RCAH) to connect the West Side community with quality healthcare jobs. Chanel Smith, a Talent Acquisition Consultant at Rush, spearheaded the program to push Rush’s commitment to equity even further. Her main job at Rush is to pre-screen candidates for various roles around the medical center. She also leads the RCAH program and creates partnerships with community-based organizations on the West Side. 

Smith said she learned about New Moms while working at another organization which provides services to youth-in-care and parenting youth. When she began working on RCAH, she knew she wanted to include New Moms as a community partner. She was already familiar with the population we serve and knew that they need access to quality job opportunities.

Smith also said the work New Moms is doing to partner with young moms for long term success is aligned with Rush’s mission to engage, serve and build a stronger West Side. 

New Moms is working to provide opportunities and resources to those who may otherwise not have them, and would fall victim to the disparities we see too often,” Smith said. “A job that provides economic value and presents the pathway to a career can be very instrumental in the growth of individuals, families, and communities.”

By creating the RCAH, Smith can now hire qualified candidates directly referred by New Moms and other community-based organizations. As a result of this partnership, our job training program has seen a steady pipeline of interviews and employment offers in the last year. Smith’s work has increased access to quality healthcare jobs for those who may not have considered Rush as a potential employer before. 

“Prior to the collaboration with New Moms, Rush had a very strong DEI culture and policies already in place,” Smith said. “[Through RCAH,] we are able to create a pipeline of qualified applicants to review for our hiring needs. It also helps us as an organization connect with the residents in a way other than providing medical services.”

The RCAH program also offers other resources to job seekers outside of job opportunities. Chanel visits New Moms every quarter to co-facilitate professional development workshops and answer questions about opportunities at Rush.

“I love connecting people to opportunities, and to share my workforce and HR industry knowledge to assist people in their development and employment advancement,” Smith said. “We believe these [sessions] will help community members boost their employment chances with not only Rush Medical Center, but other employers as well.”

If your business is interested in becoming an employer partner, you can fill out our “Hire a Graduate” form through our website. A member of the Job Training team will connect with you about next steps and answer all of your questions! 

Check out our other employer partner spotlights – MaidPro and Venture Imports, LLC.


Posted on July 23, 2020

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