INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 14, 2011, 11:09 AM

Sanford Health, Avera hiring hundreds

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Two regional health care companies plan to add 700 employees at their Sioux Falls operations this year and hundreds elsewhere as part of the growth that's seen them quadruple their local workforce in 30 years.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Two regional health care companies plan to add 700 employees at their Sioux Falls operations this year and hundreds elsewhere as part of the growth that's seen them quadruple their local workforce in 30 years.

Sanford Health, with 7,200 employees in Sioux Falls according to one recent Development Foundation survey, and Avera, with 5,200, are both four times bigger now than in 1981, when they were known as Sioux Valley Hospital and McKennan Hospital.

Each system expects to fill 300 to 350 new positions in Sioux Falls this year. Both plan for continued expansion in their regional operations. Sanford is recruiting for 250 jobs next year at its new hospital in Aberdeen, and for 100 registered nurse slots in Fargo, N.D., where it merged with MeritCare.

The Argus Leader reports that the new jobs run from research to nursing and computer technology.

"Those two employers represent more than 9 percent of our jobs. That is just incredible," Mary Medema, director of workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, told the newspaper.

She said their growth continued through a relatively difficult period for the local economy the past two years.

"Financial services have rolled back. Construction has rolled back. They were such a positive force maintaining a positive jobs picture in Sioux Falls. I don't know of another single industry that has really done that in our state's history."

Sanford now has close to 20,000 employees throughout its system and Avera about 13,700.

Both systems will add technical workers to speed the conversion to electronic medical records and other computer-driven services.

They've spent millions of dollars on recent improvements. Avera opened a cancer and surgery center last year. Sanford will add about 100 cardio-related jobs this year ahead of the 2012 opening of a new heart hospital.

Tags: