All kinds of jobs make Utah's economy tick, as was exemplified by two job-related announcements Wednesday.
At its medical center in Murray, Intermountain Healthcare formally opened its Homer Warner Center for Informatics Research, a facility dedicated to optimizing the use of information in health and biomedicine.
The center employs about 60 people but could add a couple of hundred positions in the next decade, high-paying jobs that in some cases will reach six figures, said Marc Probst, Intermountain Healthcare's chief technology officer.
"The problems in health care are so big. We really believe technology has the potential to solve a lot of those problems," he said. "And that's what this team is all about."
On another front, the 23 Home Depot stores in Utah launched a campaign to hire about 500 temporary employees for the busy spring planting season.
The best among those part-time hires have chances of being kept on full time by the home improvement retailer, which is looking to hire 60,000 seasonal people nationally, said Marty Tanner, who oversees half of Utah's Home Depots from an office in the east Sandy store.
"Our transactions literally double in the spring," he said. "We need to ramp up and have the right amount of people working the floor. We get a lot of questions from customers."
The key to getting hired, Tanner said, is to apply soon. Store managers want to complete the hiring process by the end of February so they can train their new people and have them ready to go when the weather drives people to Home Depot stores for gardening and home fix-it goods.
"By mid-March we could be in full season. You never can tell when the sun is going to come out and stay out," he said, declining to specify a starting wage beyond saying the pay will be "competitive."
Most seasonal hires will be retained for 90 days, some for 120. All will receive training in the products within store areas where they are assigned, with some eligible to move into Home Depot's certified nursery consultant program.
"We certify [employees] in every building to know everything from A to Z about nursery products, whether flowering plant or shrubs," Tanner said. "It makes us competitive with any nursery in town."
At Intermountain, the search process for people to work in the Warner Informatics Research Center will be more refined, focusing on specialists in information technology and program system engineers, many of whom also will have medical degrees.
"That's the kind of people we'll bring in," Probst said.
The center is named after Homer R. Warner, a Utah cardiologist who developed the Health Evaluation through Logical Processing (HELP) system in 1963, and five years later founded the department of medical informatics at the University of Utah.
That system is used by about 15,000 clinicians within Intermountain Healthcare's operation, Probst said.
This center will bring together the people who will advance the acquisition, storage, retrieval and use of this medical data. "They will have access to our information systems, access to the data that supports clinical care," he said. "And more than anything else, they will have access to each other."
Probst said about $10 million in grant money is flowing into the center this year, an amount he expects to get "significantly larger." That will allow the center to grow, contributing to Intermountain Healthcare's joint project with General Electric to "develop the next generation of this system."
Stanley Huff, Intermountain Healthcare's chief medical informatics officer, will direct the center.
O To apply for a season job with the home improvement retailer, fill out an application on its website or go to a job kiosk in a local store.
The Intermountain Homer Warner Center for Informatics Research is designed to advance medical care by making the flow of information more efficient.