Lab Matters Summer 2024 | Page 34


Recruiting Tomorrow ’ s Leaders : Local Academic Outreach Initiatives Boost Public Health Laboratory Recruitment

By Amra Handzic , MBA , specialist , Academic Partnerships ; and Ladan Ghedi , MA , specialist , Academic Partnerships
Local outreach efforts by public health laboratory professionals have proven pivotal in bolstering recruitment for public health laboratory science careers . Recent focus group findings by the APHL Academic Partnerships program shed light on the efficacy of various engagement activities , the motivations driving involvement , metrics for evaluating success and actionable suggestions for improvement .
Engagement Activities : Diverse local engagement initiatives have been undertaken by APHL and other public health laboratory professionals , spanning career fairs , classroom presentations , conferences and specialized events including “ Women in STEM ” days . These platforms provide direct interaction opportunities , facilitating the dissemination of information regarding public health laboratory careers .
Motivations for Involvement : Several driving forces underpin the involvement in outreach activities . These include the critical need to address workforce shortages , increase awareness of public health laboratory science careers to students from all majors and mitigate the challenges of high turnover rates .
Evaluation of Success : Success metrics encompass multifaceted parameters , including event attendance rates , attendee engagement levels with informational materials , inquiries about job opportunities and submitted applications for Public Health Laboratory Internships or Fellowships .
Suggestions for Improvement : Participants propose actionable recommendations to enhance recruitment outcomes , including clearer advertisements describing job roles , transparent communication regarding pay and benefits , strategic resolution of funding constraints , optimization of booth placement at events for maximum visibility and robust tracking mechanisms for student outreach .
Discovery of Internship Program : Insights from current public health laboratory interns show the path to
Kenlie Fite and Public Health Laboratory Ambassador Cullan Kirwan attend the University of Colorado-Denver career fair
discovering the internship program includes personal mentors , professors and online searches . Mentorship plays a significant role in guiding interns toward this opportunity .
Interns recommend engagement with students through interactive sessions and workshops that promote inclusion and diversity within the public health laboratory science field . Leveraging social media platforms to disseminate information effectively and advocating for inclusivity by welcoming students from various academic backgrounds , irrespective of their current field of study , recognizes the transformative
Dana Baker , Michelle McCarthy and DeCarlo Lyles ( Louisiana Department of Health-Baton Rouge Public Health Laboratory ) attend the Southern University Career Fair . potential of the experience . Interns recommend targeting universities with robust research , public health and science programs by actively participating in career events and highlighting the impactful work of public health laboratory scientists . A key suggestion was engaging with university professors and laboratory mentors to facilitate introductions and foster student interest in the program through personalized outreach efforts .
APHL has been actively engaged in targeted outreach through Handshake , a job marketplace facilitating connections between employers and college students or graduates from partnering institutions . Handshake is used to advertise fellowship and internship jobs , register for virtual or in-person career fairs and host recruiting events .
Recommendations provided by Handshake for enhancing recruitment strategies include creating touchpoints to maintain consistent engagement with candidates , regularly updating and reposting job listings across all participating schools to improve visibility and emphasizing the benefits of the role and potential future opportunities to attract interest . Hosting events where candidates can interact with the company before applying fosters a sense of connection and engagement .
Recognizing the preferences of early career talent , such as professional development opportunities , student loan assistance , and work-life balance , can further enhance recruitment efforts .
The focused efforts in local engagement and mentorship highlight the importance of various communication channels , varied recruitment strategies , and active involvement with academic institutions in defining career paths and nurturing a robust talent pool for public health laboratory science careers . These initiatives strengthen the workforce in this vital sector , laying the groundwork for a more inclusive and impactful future in public health laboratory science . g
32 LAB MATTERS Summer 2024
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