• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Making the workforce welcoming to all

December 30, 2018

Through an array of programs and initiatives, Mayo Clinic is developing a richly diverse workforce that reflects the different experiences and backgrounds of its patients.     

Susan Miller always knew she wanted something more. More than her eighth grade education. More than working in a bakery and sewing quilts. More than the days that stretched out ahead, each one the same as the day before. So Miller made a decision. She would leave her family and her tiny Amish community.

Miller knew if she told her parents her plans, they would do whatever they could to make her stay. So one evening, she snuck away. She was just 17. She had no money, no Social Security card, no idea how to use a computer. But she had something stirring inside of her. "Ever since I was a little girl, I thought it would be so nice to be a nurse," she says.

Five years later, Miller is a patient care assistant at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus, and she's on her way to becoming a licensed practical nurse. She hopes to eventually become a registered nurse and work in an emergency department. "I want to work where I won't know what will happen each day but will know that I have the skills to handle it," Miller says.

Miller's path to Mayo Clinic was not an easy one to travel. She doubts she would have made it at all without the help of Bridges to Healthcare, a collaborative program between Mayo Clinic and community education partners in Rochester, Minnesota. The program helps participants — many of them people of color or first-generation college students like Miller — overcome barriers to employment by providing academic support, help with job applications and other assistance.

"I go to every single Bridges graduation," says Guy Finne, director of Workforce Development in Human Resources at Mayo Clinic. "There's always a class speaker. They tell their stories, share the trials and tribulations they've had, the barriers they've faced. I've heard from refugees who have had soldiers doing harm to their families right in front of them."

And Finne has heard from people like Miller, who have made bold choices. "Talk about commitment," he says. "That's the kind of employee we want at Mayo Clinic." Read the rest of the article.
This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.