New Report Says Health Care Industry Will Produce More Jobs; Local Official Says Manufacturing Industry Continues To Evolve Here
BY O.J. EARLY
Mosheim resident Jared Ramsey has long wanted to help people.
He does just that working as a CNA at Signature Health in Greeneville, caring for those who are now unable to help themselves.
But there's another reason the West Greene High School graduate selected his present profession: he likes being employed.
A recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects the health care industry to add the most jobs over the next decade. The health care and social assistance sector is slated to gain 5 million jobs through 2022.
"The idea of the medical field having the job security that it does has always been a big factor into my career choice," said Ramsey, who recently obtained an EMT-IV license.
Ramsey plans to eventually become a flight paramedic and maybe a registered nurse.
"I knew when I was deciding on a career that I wanted to help people, but the idea of more job opportunities has always made health care much more appealing to me," he said.
Barbara Shelton, health information/human resource director at Life Care Center of Greeneville, said she isn't surprised by the Labor Department's positive forecast for the health care industry.
"Basically, we keep a full staff here," said Shelton. "We have seen an increase in applications over the last few months."
People are living longer now, and that will require trained workers to take care of them, she said.
The employment forecast for some some industries, though, isn't nearly as bright over the next decade.
Sectors such as manufacturing and forestry are expected to decline over the next 10 years, according to the Labor Department.
Total employment is expected to increase 10.8 percent -- adding more than 15 million jobs -- by 2022, according to the report.
For now, it seems that health care is the best field to enter for job security.
"It all correlates," said Tom Ferguson, president/CEO of the Greene County Partnership. "Obviously, if you have a population that's getting older, you'll need people to take care of them."
That's the case in Greene County. Nearly 30 percent of local residents are 60 and older, Ferguson said.
Two hospitals and a handful of nursing homes and home health services are located in the county.
Manufacturing, a plank in the local economy, is one of five industry sectors projected to lose jobs now through 2022, according to the Labor Department's report. The Labor Department predicts the industry to shed more than 500,000 jobs.
"Manufacturing has been decreasing nationwide for about the last 20 years or so. So, that's no surprise," he said. "But in Greene County it hasn't decreased all that much."
Factory-related jobs supplied about 30 percent of Greene County's jobs in the early 1990s. That's changed little over the last 20 years -- the percentage currently stands at 26 percent.
Evolving automation and advancing technology is one reason for the hit on the industry, Ferguson speculated Wednesday.
"Those jobs are not getting less skilled, they are getting more skilled," Ferguson said.
Manufacturing jobs can be had, Ferugson said. But it will take a new set of skills for the next generation of workers.
"In the next 15 years, it is going to take younger people who are trained and have some skills to fill those jobs," he said.