With National Workforce Development Month underway, the senior living profession is seeking to transform the crisis through heightened outreach, advocacy, and education.
(Alexandria, Va.) – Argentum, the voice for America’s professionally managed senior living communities, is excited to unveil a new campaign to bring common-sense solutions to stem the workforce shortage crisis in senior care. This campaign calls on Congress and the Administration to build and train the workforce needed now and that will be needed to care for the nation’s rapidly aging population.
“National Workforce Development Month is the ideal time to bring attention to the senior living workforce crisis which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, said Maggie Elehwany, senior vice president of public affairs, Argentum.
She added, “Argentum recently met with White House officials on the Domestic Policy Council and separately with senior advisors at the Department of Labor to discuss the needs of senior living providers with policymakers at the highest levels of government.”
“We are developing legislation to transform and retool current federal policies that could significantly alleviate the crisis with proper federal investment,” Elehwany said.
Soon, Argentum will release a letter to Congress on senior living workforce development priorities, the timing of which aligns with the critical government funding process where Congress will determine how federal funds are appropriated to each agency, including those that oversee workforce.
Included in the legislative proposal is immigration reform, a refocus on federal workforce development programs, and tax incentives for both workers and employers, to name just a few possible avenues.
“Common-sense immigration reform is a necessary component to help alleviate the workforce shortage crisis,” she said. Argentum is offering its solutions in testimony to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee panel conducting a September 14th hearing entitled, Flatlining Care: Why Immigrants Are Crucial to Bolstering Our Health Care Workforce.
This effort follows work through the past few months with other trade associations to unite to sound the alarm on the workforce crisis. Unified messaging during September will focus on the severity of the crisis due to the rapidly aging population. “In the next decade, for the first time in our country’s history, there will be more children than seniors. We simply aren’t building the workforce that will be needed to care for these seniors,” said Elehwany.
Educational outreach is also being spearheaded with the recently formed House 21st Century Long-Term Care Caucus where lawmakers have joined together to confront the dire workforce shortages and other issues that face America’s seniors.
Argentum is building on the success from earlier in 2022, when a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House introduced the SENIOR Act. This legislation provided $10 billion in COVID financial relief, and presciently, also included an additional $1.25 billion for workforce development grants.
Additionally, during the annual appropriations process, Argentum was successful in working with Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) to insert the below report language into the House Labor, HHS, & Education funding bill. This language may now be included in the larger, end-of-year Omnibus package after the mid-term elections.
Argentum is the leading national association exclusively dedicated to supporting companies operating professionally managed, resident-centered senior living communities and the older adults and families they serve. Since 1990, Argentum has advocated for choice, independence, dignity, and quality of life for all older adults.
Argentum member companies operate senior living communities offering assisted living, independent living, continuing care, and memory care services. Along with its state partners, Argentum’s membership represents approximately 75 percent of the senior living industry—an industry with a national economic impact of nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars and responsible for providing over 1.6 million jobs. For more information, visit www.argentum.org.
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