WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A blood shortage and an employee shortage. The American Red Cross says its blood supply is reaching severe levels.

The Red Cross in Wichita says it distributed 75,000 more units of blood than it expected last month. While it needs more needles in arms, it also needs more people to help donors. They held a job fair on Tuesday with mass interviews looking for any phlebotomists it can find.

“Our phlebotomists spend every day collecting blood all over the state of Kansas. We roll to all corners of the state, and like many other positions, there is turnover,” said Michelle Jantz, the Red Cross’ regional executive.

Jantz explained that travel seems to be a big hindrance in finding employees.

“We have volunteer blood donors who are giving us a piece of themselves so we want to make it as convenient as possible so we go to them. We’ll go to Liberal, and Goodland, and Medicine Lodge, and Hoxie, and to Coffeyville.”

Jantz did add that they met plenty of great candidates at their job fair.

At Ascension Via Christi, they currently have more than 10 phlebotomist openings. They say there’s a lot of problems that come when that position is understaffed.

“It’s a big impact because if you can’t take care of the orders that the physicians place in a timely manner that can delay care,” said Julie Simon, Ascension Via Christi’s System Lab director.

Via Christi says phlebotomist is a position it is constantly recruiting because it’s a great entry-level position to use as a stepping stone for a higher-paying position in healthcare.

While the need for phlebotomists right now is huge, WSU Tech is training the next wave of professionals.

“The community needs more phlebotomists and we’ve done a few different things to try to combat that,” said Lauren Thornhill, WSU Tech assistant program director of phlebotomy. “We’ve added summer classes for adult learners, and we also offer phlebotomy to seven local high schools.”