With the many advances in care and treatments, today’s patients have more and more reasons to expect the best outcomes. Here are the incredible stories of our patients and their journeys. Click on a thumbnail and scroll down to view each story.
Community partnerships, career events and individual experiences are methods employed by McLeod Workforce Development to expose potential candidates to the vast career opportunities at McLeod Health.
Led by Charity Gerald, the Workforce Development team prioritizes finding new talent with the expertise needed for the McLeod Recruiters of Talent Acquisitions to fill the open positions at each of McLeod Health’s seven hospitals.
“It is all about using a people-first approach for placing individuals on a health career path that will provide them long-term success,” said Charity.
Bryce Alford never imagined attending a Job Fair during his senior year at West Florence High School would lead to a career at McLeod. It was when he stopped by the McLeod Health table and talked to the Workforce Development representative that he learned about Project Search.
In partnership with Florence 1 Schools, McLeod Regional Medical Center hosts Project Search, a transition program that prepares youth with disabilities to secure full-time employment in post-school life.
Now in its fourth year, this program has been recognized both at state and national levels for outstanding employment outcomes and the quality of employment preparation students receive.
Participants attend six months of class to learn about the aspects of having a job and rotate through various work assignments searching for the career that will promote their success.
Bryce’s first assignment was as a Patient Transporter. His second rotation was in Environmental Services, and it was there that Bryce found his calling.
“I didn’t even complete all my Project rotations before Environmental Services offered me a position,” said Bryce. “The job offer came on my birthday, which made the day even more special.”
“Bryce is one of the most authentic and charismatic young men I have ever met,” said Matthew Peake, Health Careers Program Coordinator for Workforce Development.
“He has impressed his department and is often given charge duty assignments. Bryce is one of the first graduates of our program, and now he serves as a motivational speaker for incoming Project Search participants.”
Today, Bryce works as a Runner in Environmental Services, meaning he is assigned to various locations in need of extra help, so he must be familiar with all areas of the hospital.
“I want to thank McLeod for being part of Project Search,” said Bryce. “I really love my job, and if it wasn’t for this program I would not be where I am today, being able to help support my family.”
“At Workforce Development we are not just focused on individuals who want to be doctors or nurses,” said Charity.
“We also work with those at entry-level positions and coach them to build their career ladder. We can provide many career building opportunities through the Level Up Grant.”
Level Up is a healthcare grant by the U.S. Department of Labor designed to help healthcare workers in occupations which directly impact patient care.
Through this grant, Samantha Lattymer and Victoria Lawhon, Pharmacy Technicians with McLeod Regional Medical Center, graduated from Florence-Darlington Technical College’s Certified Pharmacy Technician Program.
The 14-week program consists of 210 hours of hands-on skills and simulation labs skill check-offs in pharmacy settings.
Both young women were recommended for this program by their department director, and they readily agreed to participate.
As certified technicians, they can serve as additional eyes for the pharmacist, help check other technicians’ work and assist as a resource for questions.
“The best part of the classes was the hands-on sections,” said Samantha. “It gave me exposure to all areas of the pharmacy, even those I normally would not work in like the IV (intravenous) Room. The IV Room is where medicines or fluids that are directly administered into patient’s veins are prepared.”
Victoria sees her certification as being one step closer to her goal of becoming a pharmacist. “I have wanted to be a pharmacist since I was in middle school,” said Victoria.
She has begun looking at the core classes needed and had conversations with Workforce Development about the scholarships available through McLeod for pharmacy students.
For anyone with a love of pharmacy, like these young women, both Samantha and Victoria recommend furthering their education with the Certified Pharmacy Technician Program.
For students on an allied health career track, McLeod has academic partnerships with more than 50 colleges and universities that allow students to develop skills in their areas of interest.
Michael Smalls entered Coastal Carolina University majoring in Accounting. With both parents and an aunt working in healthcare, however, he soon realized his interest was in healthcare administration and switched his major to Public Health.
One of the graduation requirements involved the participation in an internship. As Michael reviewed the school’s list of internship opportunities, McLeod Health was his top choice.
Michael started in the Physical Therapy Department at McLeod Health Seacoast before rotating to Quality & Safety. When Michael rotated to Human Resources, he knew this was where he was meant to be.
“I love interacting with people,” said Michael. “There is something special about hiring the people who are here to save patient’s lives.”
Upon graduation, Michael was offered a full-time position as the HR Specialist covering McLeod Health Seacoast, McLeod Health Loris and McLeod Health Carolina Forest. In this position, Michael is responsible for onboarding all new employees and handling any employee information needs.
“The internship was an amazing opportunity to showcase my skills and gain experience,” said Michael. “If it wasn’t for the internship, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“McLeod is like a family to me. I couldn’t be happier,” added Michael.
For anyone interested or considering a career in healthcare, McLeod Workforce Development has many opportunities for candidates to explore their options including shadowing programs, summer nursing academies, and work-based learning programs.
For those who are undecided about the direction of their career, Workforce Development can help with Career Coaching.
“The hardest part for many people is determining their first step,” said Charity.
Career Coaching begins with education on the different careers available at McLeod to narrow down their interest.
Workforce Development then coaches candidates to establish and reach their goals, providing support with resumes, interviewing tips, and education requirements to achieve the position they want at McLeod.
“At Workforce Development we strive to break down barriers and build confidence,” said Charity. “A strong, confident workforce leads to providing better patient care.”
For more information about the services offered by McLeod Workforce Development, visit McLeodCareerExploration.org.
Meet the Workforce Development Team
Academic Nursing Student Coordinator
Janet Belew is a native of Coward, SC and a graduate of Lake City High School. Janet recently obtained her Nursing Assistant Certificate and works part-time as a Medical/Surgical Technologist on the Oncology floor. In her 22 years with McLeod Health, Janet’s previous positions have included Legal Collector promoted to Office Specialist, Collection Supervisor promoted to Assistant Collection Manager, EAP Office Manager and McLeod Endocrinologist Office Manager. Janet’s hobbies include fishing, cooking and horses.
Ingrid Cherry, SHRM-CP
Workforce Development Coordinator
Ingrid Cherry is a native of Mount Pleasant, SC and a graduate of Wando High School. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Francis Marion University. Ingrid is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Leadership and Human Resource Development with a Concentration in Workforce Development. She has 13 years of combined experience in Talent Acquisition and Workforce Development. Ingrid currently holds her Society for Human Resource Management-Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) certification and her Certified Workforce Development Professional certification. Her hobbies include hosting events, running a small business with her husband and spending time with her family.
Academic Allied Health Student Coordinator
Rebekkah Chilton is a native of Lake City, SC and a graduate of Lake City High School. Rebekkah is actively pursuing a Massage Therapy Certification from Central Carolina Technical College. Prior to becoming an Academic Allied Health Student Coordinator, Rebekkah’s previous experience includes Administrative Assistant for AHEC, Operations Manager – Recruiting & Onboarding Lead for Kelly Educational Staffing and SC Retirement Benefits & ACA Specialist for Florence 1 Schools. Rebekkah’s current hobbies include fostering dogs from local animal shelters, and she is an antique/auction lover.
Workforce Development Coordinator
Jernasia Gaskins is a native of Florence, SC and a graduate of West Florence High School. She earned her Bachelor of Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Francis Marion University. Jernasia is one of the newest members to join the Workforce Development team and is most excited about Career Coaching. She has been a part of the McLeod family for more than 5 years and has worked diligently in many different capacities. Jernasia is passionate about helping others achieve their goals and “meeting people where they are.” Her hobbies include watching documentaries, traveling and photography. Her favorite quote is, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”- Maya Angelou.
Director of Workforce Development
Human Resource Business Partner for McLeod Health
Charity Gerald is a Florence, SC native and graduate of South Florence High School. She is a Registered Nurse with 23 years of healthcare experience and a graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina. Charity’s previous experience includes Director of Nursing in the ICU, Progressive Care and Medical Units. She is a Palmetto Gold Award recipient and has also earned the prestigious McLeod Health Merit Award. Charity has a Master’s in Business Administration/Healthcare Administration and is currently working to obtain Society for Human Resource Management-Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) certification. Charity’s hobbies include spending time with her family, drawing, painting, singing and traveling.
Academic and Student Coordinator
Jennifer Hedinger is from Ocean Isle Beach, NC with more than 20 years of experience in Workforce Development. She is new to the McLeod family, relocating from Cleveland, Ohio. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Radford University in Virginia and a Masters in Adult Learning and Development from Cleveland State University. Her experience includes teaching, career coaching, workforce program management and resource development. Jennifer enjoys time with her family, reading and traveling.
Health Careers Program Coordinator
Matthew Peake is a native of Elgin, SC and a graduate of Lugoff-Elgin High School. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Psychology from the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Matthew is a South Carolina Certified Teaching Professional with 13 years of experience. In 2022, Matthew was honored to receive the South Carolina Transition Alliance’s Transition-to-Work Program of the Year award and also earned an Outstanding Employment Rate award from the Project SEARCH National Program Office. He is currently working to obtain his Society for Human Resource Management-Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) certifications. Matthew’s hobbies include spending time with his family, cooking and playing music.