As RUSH’s vice president for supply chain operations, Jeremy Strong is acutely focused on identifying and eliminating barriers. While success typically means a clear path between medical supplies and RUSH caregivers who need them, he has also been helping clear the career path to success for future supply chain professionals from underserved Chicago neighborhoods.
“Hospitals everywhere — including RUSH — not only need talented, intelligent people to keep operations moving, they need new perspectives and fresh ideas. The world needs you,” Strong proudly told the first group of graduates of RUSH’s partnership with Garfield Park-based JumpHire to train and prepare people for careers in supply chain operations.
Since October, 17 people interested in supply chain management careers have been getting hands-on training at RUSH to acquire the industry-specific knowledge, skills and technology experience needed to land a job in the supply chain industry.
But Strong didn’t have to tell the grads what they already knew: that what might be considered low hurdles to many — like affordable day care or bus fare just to get to job training — too often stand between talented job seekers and an entry-level job that can lead to a career with family-sustaining wages and benefits.
So while RUSH’s supply chain teams provided hands-on training that professionals in the field need to land the first job, and colleagues at JumpHire focused on interviewing techniques and thriving in professional settings, JumpHire also provided a small weekly stipend and provided transportation and day care assistance.
“This is an ideal partnership for RUSH. Working together, our organizations are providing people the skills and wrap-around support that helps them compete and succeed,” Strong says.
Strong says that the neighborhoods that RUSH serves — “our own backyard” — are home to a wealth of talented, motivated potential employees. And building career pipelines like this not only helps address staffing challenges but also furthers the organization’s anchor mission of improving the health of the communities it serves by channeling the economic benefits of how RUSH invests, purchases, hires and volunteers toward those neighborhoods.
'Whoever gets me is gonna win'
Brittany Robinson, a single mother of three, explained that she was intrigued by JumpHire’s social media posting that described a streamlined career path, and not just a job.
“I’ve worked, and was great at, a few positions with (a major retailer) but wanted something more. But life would get in the way,” she said.
But with JumpHire providing day care, transportation assistance and a small weekly stipend, she was able to complete the training that has her positioned for long-term success. Robinson and fellow graduates are guaranteed interviews with RUSH, with RUSH supply chain partner Concordance and with other local health systems for jobs with benefits and a path forward.
“Whoever gets me is gonna win. I’ve always been a good worker. Always. But JumpHire and RUSH put me on top of my game,” she said.
Claudia Aquina closed out the ceremony by thanking her teachers for not just showing them the skills they need, but also “offering the encouragement that fed our souls and reminded us to believe in ourselves.”