Just this past weekend I read an rather uneventful article about a new employee at a Tiffin, Ohio based funeral home that you can read here. The article centers on the employment of young funeral director Jacob Bowers and his relatively new employment at the Hoffman-Gottfried-Mack Funeral Home and Crematory.
The article, in essence, tells of the homecoming of a youth, who at age 14 started washing cars and doing the lawn work for the funeral home. Bowers also explains that his mother died when he was a toddler – which could give a background on why he chose funeral service as a career.
Funeral Director Daily take: While I mention that the article is rather uneventful it just came at a time for me when I had some experiences and started putting two and two together in the realm of the employee shortages we have today in funeral service.
One of my duties as a board member at the University of Minnesota is to understand how and why the student population does what they do and to make sure that we have opportunities available for what they want to do. The article on Mr. Bowers reminded me of something I learned recently about life experiences and how that can drive passion.
At the University of Minnesota we have an undergraduate school of Biological Sciences which is where many of the future doctors, dentists, and the like come out of. The school is nationally competitive and a high school senior would need about a 31-32 ACT score to be considered for admission. However, we also have a small, health-care only related campus in Rochester, Minnesota – the medical mecca of the world as the home to the Mayo Clinic – that admits students with an average ACT of 24 – if they can show a “passion” for this type of work. Students must write a passion statement and many times it is a family health situation that has given them this passion to help others. At the end of the day, what we find, is that those Rochester students are “up to the task” for graduate studies also.
So, my point here is what maybe we as funeral service professionals can help our industry’s lack of employees by searching out “passionate” young people who may have been impressed by the service we gave at the time one of their loved ones was in our funeral home’s care. In the story above, that is what funeral home owner, Robb Mack, did with a young Jacob Bowers. Think of those teenagers who have sat in arrangements with you in the past few years for one of their parents or grandparents service and think about connecting with them about their experiences with the funeral service. Just maybe, one of them may be looking for that nudge to learn more about a career in funeral service.