Geroldine PetrosinoDr. Geraldine Petrosino of Smile Design Dental has practiced dentistry in Newburgh for seventeen years. She comes from a long line of dentists including her father, brother, brother-in-law, and niece. One challenge they share is managing the business side of dentistry. In addition to patient care, they’re also responsible for hiring, retaining, and managing staff—tasks Dr. Petrosino does not relish.

“It can be extremely challenging to find people with the skill set you’re looking for in healthcare,” says Dr. Petrosino. “Nothing strikes more fear in my heart than the thought of having to look for another person to add to the team.”

Dr. Petrosino’s latest hire came through Jobs Waiting, a federally funded regional partnership that aims to help employers fill skilled positions in healthcare. When first introduced to the program, she was skeptical.

“It sounded too good to be true,” she said.

But it wasn’t. Jobs Waiting not only helped her find a new, reliable employee, it provided financial support to train her. Brianna Hannigan, a Jobs Waiting graduate from Orange County started at Smile Design Dental with a six-week paid “work tryout,” during which time Dr. Petrosino evaluated her performance to determine if she was a good fit for her practice, a benefit she appreciated. 

“Sometimes when you’re hiring, candidates make a good impression, but you really don’t know how they’ll do until you’ve worked with them for a bit,” she said.

When looking for an employee Dr. Petrosino says she seeks a candidate who has both technical skills and soft skills, and a willingness to continue learning. The job matching provided by the Jobs Waiting job developers turned out to be one of the most beneficial features of the program, according to Dr. Petrosino.

“Recruiting took a lot of time. We’d place help wanted ads, sift through piles of resumes, and then interview candidates. It took a lot of time from my schedule—time I needed to devote to my patients. Being presented with a candidate who was pre-screened and motivated to work was a time-saver.”

Following Hannigan’s work tryout, Dr. Petrosino decided to hire her and was pleased to learn that she was eligible to receive additional financial support for six months through Jobs Waiting’s On-the-job Training (OJT) funds, which make an impact on her practice’s bottom line.

For her part, Hannigan is excited to move forward in the dental industry and is considering training to be a dental hygienist. “I’m really excited about gaining experience, and moving forward in this industry,” she explained.

Dr. Petrosino said Hannigan has contributed to her practice from the start. “Jobs Waiting has saved me time, has saved me money, and saved me aggravation,” she said. “I’m very happy with the results so far. I hope as my practice grows, I can continue to recruit people from the program.”

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