With a warm reception, West Texas VA Health Care System (WTVAHCS) welcomed its largest new employee orientation class of 2020. WTVAHCS welcomed 14 new employees on Oct. 26, 2020, bringing the total of filled positions this year to 99.

“Before COVID-19 hit, we were averaging about 10 new employees every other week,” said Silvia Fitzgibbons, human resources officer. “We’re starting to see a return to normal in terms of hiring, if not more as we work to fill needed positions.”

WTVAHCS has brought aboard 99 new employees so far in 2020. It has only incurred 75 losses over the same time period, netting an overall gain of 24 employees. These efforts in hiring and filling vacant positions, and creating new ones, is one of WTVAHCS Director Jason Cave’s top three long range goals. It’s also in keeping with his vision for continuous growth to meet Veteran health care needs.

New hire Bridgett Holmes (right) tours the George H. O’Brien, Jr. VA Medical Center with Robin Tijerina as part of the new employment orientation class. Holmes is one of 14 new employees to join VA this week. Tijerina will join Holmes in standing up a Veteran and Employee Experience Office.

“Attracting well qualified employees with a true desire”

“One of my top priorities is to create consistency and stability across our health care system,” said Cave. “And hiring new, well qualified staff is a key step in achieving both consistency for our Veterans and stability for our staff.

“Attracting well qualified employees with a true desire to serve our nation’s Veterans is at the core of creating the consistency our Veterans deserve.”

Pictured above, Cave welcomes the largest new employee class of 2020.

“I believe every Veteran deserves the best care possible,” said Bridgett Holmes, a new employee. Holmes transferred from Central Texas and will be standing up the newly created Veteran and staff experience office. “I want to be a part of providing that great care to every West Texas Veteran.”

Special hiring authority allows for direct hire

As the new employees go through the onboarding process, they will participate in two days of training that is designed to ease them into the new environment of federal employment. The orientation also gives them a general overview of the health care system.

Recent efforts to recruit new employees consisted of focused clinical hiring, as well as a virtual career fair where more than 30 positions were advertised. Job seekers could email resumes directly to human resources. For many of those positions, the facility had special hiring authority, allowing them to direct-hire qualified candidates. This class reflects that effort.

The West Texas VA Health Care System includes San Angelo, Midland/Odessa, Abilene, Fort Stockton and Hobbs, NM. We are currently looking for new employees to join the team. Visit USAJobs.gov to see a complete listing of available positions.

William Hatton is an Army Veterans a a public affairs specialist at the West Texas VA, Big Spring, TX.

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Published on Nov. 15, 2020

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