Home Organization As omicron continues to spread, Arizona organizations and schools scramble to fill vacancies

As omicron continues to spread, Arizona organizations and schools scramble to fill vacancies


As the omicron-fueled COVID-19 outbreak continues, organizations and schools in Arizona are doing what they can to hire new workers for the vacancies that have arisen.

Embry Health Hosts Rapid Hire Events

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases means there is record demand for testing, leading a Phoenix-area diagnostics company to seek hundreds of employees.

Embry Health operates more than 80 drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites across Arizona, and they host rapid-hire sites, like the one at Mesa Community College.

When people drive to the site, they later leave with a new job that has a starting salary of $20 per hour.

Candidates say it wasn’t just a salary they were looking for.

“I think it would be a great way to help the community,” Nicole Ochoa said.

“I’m a retired LPN and looking to help out in the current crisis, so I’m re-entering the workforce after three years of retirement,” Laura Evans said.

Embry Health was launched almost three years ago, at the start of the pandemic. At first they were testing 15,000 people a day for COVID, but that number has more than doubled.

“If our organization is staffed with about 15,000 patients, we go to 40,000, that puts a huge strain on everyone in the organization,” Embry Health CEO Raymond Embry said. “Over the past week, we have been able to hire and onboard over 300 employees, which has significantly reduced wait times.”

There is no waiting for those who want to work, and many candidates have arrived and been hired within an hour.

“I just took my info, told me when payroll starts and what time to be here tomorrow morning,” Ochoa said.

“It’s scary, but it would feel good to know that I’m helping others,” Evans said.

Embry said it was not a dead end job and expects there will be opportunities for promotion even after the pandemic is over.

“Tomorrow might handle one. They might work in our lab division or in our outpatient clinics,” Embry said.

Besides the Mesa Community College fast-hiring site, there are two other similar sites, one at the old Metrocenter in Phoenix and the other at Estrella Community College.

Emry Health Careers


School districts facing a shortage of substitute teachers

Along with a shortage of teachers, school districts in Arizona are also experiencing a shortage of substitute teachers.

Mesa School District officials say they are experiencing a 220% increase in teacher absences due to the current shortage, as well as COVID-19.

“We had a teacher shortage for years before the pandemic, and it was a severe, very critical shortage,” said Justin Wing, assistant superintendent of human resources for the Mesa School District. “The pandemic has exacerbated it. The new variant at the moment, with exponentially increasing absences, the serious crisis that we are going through.”

Wing said many other school districts are having the exact same problem.

“I also serve on the board of the Arizona Personnel Administrators Association, a human resources association representing schools throughout Arizona,” Wing said. “Yesterday I spoke to 11 different school districts. Their main concern: lack of replacement coverage or absences.”

Wing says that in an effort to fill the gaps, the majority of districts he has spoken to, including Mesa Public Schools, are urgently certifying anyone who is classified.

“Currently, you must have a high school diploma and a fingerprint card to obtain a substitute teacher certificate. I know that many school districts are emergency sub-certifiers with a high school diploma or higher “Wing said.

Mesa Public Schools Alternative Services


Other stories of coronavirus in Arizona

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