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Sanford Health System Hiring Boom

May 18, 2011, 9:50 PM by Angela Kennecke

Sanford Health System Hiring Boom
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Jobs may be the last thing to recover from the recession, but health care has added jobs every month since the start of the economic downturn for a total of nearly one million new positions. Plenty of them are in KELOLAND.

Less than a year ago, Surgery Secretary Melissa Hickman picked up her family and moved across the country for a better life.

"All the arrows started pointing; maybe we should look at relocating, so we started doing a lot of research, on areas. We wanted to look at young families per capita, and this is a huge family area. We wanted to look at education because I need to finish my nursing license," Melissa Hickman said.

Hickman lived in Northern California, where the unemployment rate was 22 percent and crime was getting worse. She had worked in the local hospital for ten years before applying at Sanford.

"I thought why are they going to interview with someone from out of town, but that didn't seem to be any problem at all, which I was shocked," Hickman said.

"She had the qualifications; she had a very nice background. She had longevity at her last position, which is also very important. She was a perfect fit on paper as well as after we got to interview and visit with her further," Peggy Canter of Sanford Human Resources said.

Sanford Health System in Sioux Falls and Fargo has a total of 800 jobs now open but 9,000 people apply every month.

"There are a lot of qualified applications we go through for one job. Depending on the job, we may have anywhere from 50 to 150 applicants for the one position," Canter said.

Despite the harsh winter, this California girl says South Dakota has something the Golden State can't offer.

"I'm absolutely shocked at letting my son play outside. Here, you drive down the street and there's children playing outside and it's family focused here," Hickman said.

Hickman's mother has also since moved here for a job with Sanford and her brother plans to come this summer. She's hoping her current job is just the first step in a long career.

"I would love to work out, go through the nursing program and work up from there," Hickman said.

Hickman's husband also got a job just one week after the couple moved here.
The number of jobs available at Sanford is expected to continue to grow with an expanding Information Technology department, a new heart hospital and a new hospital in Aberdeen will have 200 additional positions alone.

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