HAMPTON, Va. — The "Now Hiring" sign is out at the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
The center, which dates back to 1870, serves more than 50,000 patients per year and has seen a 23% increase in the number of patients seeking care since 2017.
In 2015, the center and its regional clinics had the longest primary care wait times in the country.
And in 2019, the center had 790 staff vacancies, or a vacancy rate of approximately 15%.
In addition to all of that, the Hampton VA must now also hire for the new Western Branch Outpatient Clinic and the Chesapeake Health Care Center, which will open in 2023 and 2024 respectively.
In short, they need people, and a lot of them.
So, the VA is planning a job fair on March 4. The more than one dozen types of openings include physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers, pharmacists, and psychologists.
"I'm hoping 500 people come through the door. And I'm hoping to hire 150," said Dr. Taquisa K. Simmons, Hampton VA Health Care System Executive Director.
In an interview Monday with 13News Now, Simmons said hiring and staffing are always hard.
"We're not where we want to be," she said.
Simmons is hopeful the job fair will help.
"We're ecstatic about it," she said. "We want to make sure that we increase access for our veterans. We know how important that is for our community. And so, adding the additional resources to be able to do that is what we're aiming to do."
The job fair is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 4, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. in Building 83 at the Hampton VA Medical Center. Applicants must bring a current ID, proof of citizenship, and a resume. Two references are required and veterans should bring their DD-214 forms.