LeadingAge Magazine · November-December 2017 • Volume 07 • Number 06

A New LeadingAge Resource to Help With Workforce Challenges

November 16, 2017 | by Susan Hildebrandt

The new LeadingAge Center for Workforce Solutions is designed to be a one-stop shop for members trying to solve the pervasive recruitment and retention issues in our field.

Crisis. Problem. Challenge. Survival.

Those are just a few of the words I’ve heard talking to state partners and communities about workforce issues.

We heard you. In June, LeadingAge launched the Center for Workforce Solutions as a one-stop-shop for tools and information about recruitment and retention for jobs in aging services.

It’s still new, but the Center includes a growing list of resources that we hope you’ll find helpful:

Promising Practices

The most-visited part of the website, this section includes recruitment and retention practices that communities around the country have found helpful. They range from fairly simple drop-in programs to ones that may require a fundamental shift in how you’ve been doing business. Each practice is outlined in a user-friendly format so that you can judge, at a glance, if a program would work for you—and get the name of a person to contact if you’d like to learn more. There’s also a spot for you to fill out a short form about a program that has worked in your community. I urge you to send them in; let others learn from your good work!

Tools

The most popular part of this section is the turnover calculator, which you can download in Excel to find out how much turnover is costing your community. Did you know that the average cost of replacing any employee is 25% of the salary amount? There also are questions you can look through to decide if your community has the capacity to help your direct care worker build a career, or can create services to do so.

Podcasts

Is listening more your style? Sign up for our Workforce Innovators Podcast series! Right now, it includes members talking about what’s worked in their communities, but soon will include journalists, policymakers, people working with non-traditional groups in our space, and more. Find it on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Google Play Podcasts and Stitcher.

Facts and Figures

The Workforce Crisis part of the website has a printable factsheet that you can use when you want to give someone a snapshot of the workforce crisis. This infographic includes facts on the aging population, the number of people who will need long-term care in the future, the number of staff needed in the future, and more. About 7 out of 10 people who reach age 65 will need some type of the help we provide. Print it off and take it to your next meeting with a state legislator or organization that is interested in your work.

Presentation Materials

Need a quick presentation for a local high school to talk to students about working in your community? Look no further than “Presentation Materials, which includes a ready-to-use PowerPoint that includes a 2-minute video highlighting the different jobs in aging services and includes comments you can use as you walk through each slide. Take the PowerPoint along with the printable fact sheet to the high school meeting and voila—you have an instant, polished presentation. You also can find a video about working in aging services—Make a Career out of Making a Difference—recently produced by LeadingAge Pennsylvania. There’s also a promising practice about “Geriatric Career Development.” Targeted at high school students, the program was created by The New Jewish Home in New York City to increase the number of young people exposed to work in our sector and train them to work in their community.

LeadingAge States With Workforce Activities

Our LeadingAge state partners also have been active around workforce. Click on this section to find websites created by your peers that showcase data, training programs they’ve developed, regulatory issues and links to helpful resources.

Future Directions

So, what’s next for LeadingAge around workforce? We plan to focus on recruitment issues. Not only did the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston benchmark survey show that a large majority of members cannot find qualified workers, but the demographics are clear: The US is aging rapidly and we have a severe shortage of paid caregivers and other staff in our field.

We will support you with your ongoing pipeline issues, but also will look for external partners, i.e., key players in the education, workforce, business and local and state government sectors. Together, we can work on solutions. People around the country want to care for their aging population and they need to help provide jobs. We want people to know that long-term services and supports is a positive, potential partner in their communities.

What Can You Do?

Look at the Center for Workforce Solutions! Are there other resources you’d like to see? Is there a recruitment or retention program your community has used that has made a difference? Send it in! Have thoughts on what we plan for the future? We invite your comments.

Please join us!

Susan Hildebrandt is vice president, workforce initiatives for LeadingAge.