VA offers $3,000 signing bonus

The VA Sunshine Healthcare Network (VISN 8) is offering a $3,000 signing bonus for housekeeping aides in Gainesville, Orlando, Miami and four other Florida cities.

Overall, VISN 8, headquartered in St. Petersburg, has just under 400 of these positions available―54 in Gainesville and 29 in Lake City.

VISN 8 will host a virtual job fair to help fill the positions from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 31.. The fair is only open to veterans, and recruiters will contact each applicant individually throughout the fair and will make job offers the same day.

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The market for wage employees is tough right now, said acting associate human resources officer Jeff Heinrichs.

“In today’s market, we have to work very hard to be competitive because there are a lot of opportunities out there for these people,” Heinrichs said in a phone interview. “And we don’t just want anybody. We want the best.”

But the Gainesville market could be tough.

In Alachua County, job openings hit a record high of 12,085 in July. Heinrichs said all of the companies posting these positions are competitors for VISN 8.

He also noted the job is more than just the wage earning. Employees receive numerous benefits including a 401(k)-type savings plan with an up to a 5 percent employer match along with childcare and transport subsidies.

He called the work of housekeeping aides pivotal for countering COVID-19 and a first impression for veterans entering the facilities.

“We’re not just looking for people that just push a broom,” Heinrichs said, explaining that many of the facilities use state-of-the-art, automated cleaning systems that workers will learn to operate.

VISN 8 is looking for veterans to fill the role. Heinrichs said veterans already have the right frame of mind.

“In their military career, they spent many hours standing watch, protecting their buddies,” Heinrichs said. “And that’s essentially what we’re asking them to do here―to stand watch and protect the veterans that come into our facilities as well.”

Veterans make up 85 percent of the VA’s custodial staff.

VISN 8 is also hiring on a number of fronts. Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and respiratory therapists are always in-demand. The healthcare network needs staff for medical records coding and medical support assistants as well.

“We’re continually looking for the right people who have an interest in serving veterans and have that right attitude of service that we’re looking for that sets the VA apart from other healthcare facilities,” Heinrich said.

As of January, the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville outperformed both major hospitals in Gainesville in patient survey ratings.

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