In a 12-part series, we’re shining a light on the corporate sponsors who make St. Cloud Shines impact and reach go even further.
Behind every great community is a healthcare system that’s dedicated to keeping its residents safe and supported. For the Greater St. Cloud area, that healthcare system is CentraCare. CentraCare Health System is comprised of a collaborative group of healthcare professionals, working together to provide comprehensive, high-quality care for residents of Greater St. Cloud.
Over a Century of Service
CentraCare’s roots go back to 1886 when St. Cloud Hospital was built to serve the healthcare needs of people living in Central Minnesota. In 1995, CentraCare was formed, which today includes eight hospitals in St. Cloud, Long Prairie, Melrose, Monticello, Paynesville, Redwood Falls, Sauk Centre, and Willmar. The system includes more than 30 clinics, 11 senior housing facilities, and eight long-term care facilities throughout the area.
Because Health Means Everything
CentraCare is a purpose-driven organization, standing by its principles of “We hold a vision for all of us to live a healthy life. As a provider of care, employer to many, and a community Foundation, we encourage and inspire health and well-being. We also know there is a need for healing and comfort in every life, so at the heart of CentraCare is a commitment to the patients and families we serve in the communities we all call home.”
We’re here for your whole life — to listen then serve, to guide and heal — because health means everything.
Commitment to Community
Joe Kalkman is CentraCare’s Chief Administrative Officer and Senior VP of Human Resources. He shared the perspective of why the organization supports St. Cloud Shines. He said a vibrant community that’s happy and comfortable naturally leads to a sense of place that people want to be part of—to live, raise their families, and find meaningful, stable career opportunities. He said there’s something inherently special about Central Minnesota with its not-quite big metro feel that’s less hectic and surrounded by geography rich with access to lakes, nature, and quiet spaces.
He noted the current job openings data—CentraCare has 1,023 open positions it’s looking to fill across the organization—hint at the growth and stability that are tied to the people of this community.
“As the largest [independent] employer in Central Minnesota, CentraCare offers a wide range of positions beyond a clinical, healthcare-type career. Many people associate CentraCare with the typical bedside-based opportunities like nursing or patient-centered care, but we need people in marketing, human resources, tech/IT, accounting, finance, and operations for the long term. COVID-19 aggressively impacted our digital presence, and telemedicine is just beginning to take off. We need people more than ever to help bring health to our populations.”
Central Minnesota Strong
When asked what types of qualities the people of Central Minnesota possess, Kalkman was quick to share. “People here have a true sense of service and a deep understanding of care and purpose. What we do makes a difference. Miracles happen every single day at the St. Cloud Hospital. There’s a vulnerability and authenticity present in healing—listening with the heart. The people of our community see needs and are called to serve.” He specifically used Summertime by George as an anecdote to illustrate that purpose and servanthood. “What a great community experience. That was no one’s job. It was a group of people who said, ‘we’ve got to build community here.’ It’s a public asset made possible by a lot of people and businesses coming together to serve.”
On the Horizon
Where does healthcare go from here? Kalkman said, “Healthcare is not going to go away; in fact, it’s enduring. The work we’re doing in population health, the work we’re doing outside the four walls of the doctor’s office or hospitals is based on how we help not only individual citizens, but employers, too. How we promote wellness, whether it’s taking advantage of vaccinations, connecting with social agencies to address housing and food access—the things that keep us healthy so we don’t have to go to the hospital are really important. We’re making progress already, but I think we’re going to see an improvement there.
The ability to access healthcare from the comfort of your home without having to load the kids in the car or take a half-day off work to get there just to sit in a waiting room—wow. That scenario of course requires technology infrastructure and broadband access.
And, we’re building better pipelines from our educational institutions that transfer into careers at CentraCare. Not just higher ed, but the work we’re doing with ISD 742 and how we talk to teenagers and junior high kids about jobs and careers and ways what curriculum they’re taking now impacts their future. For example—if you don’t want to take algebra, it might be hard for you to work in pathology or in a crime lab. It’s that view of life-long development and connecting kids to the concept of how they wish to contribute as they grow up.”
When asked what few words best describe CentraCare, Kalkman said, “Healing, dynamic, resilient, and purposeful.” We couldn’t agree more. A sincere thank you to CentraCare for being an important sponsor of St. Cloud Shines. We’re better because of our affiliations and community partners like you.