LeadingAge offers hope and solutions for tackling the tough workforce challenges in aging services.
As LeadingAge President Katie Smith Sloan said today in her opening address of the Leadership Summit, we come together in our nation’s capital each spring for a reason: to talk about strategy and trends, to learn from one another, and to elevate our voices on the issues that matter most to the sustainability of our sector. And right now, there isn’t an issue that seems to matter more than workforce.
The shortage of caregiving professionals across aging services is truly a crisis—and it’s not getting better. Aging services professionals play a critical role in our country’s care infrastructure, but as a nation we’ve always devalued them—and now we’re seeing the results. Our members have made it clear: it’s bad out there.
LeadingAge is taking action.
Today at the Summit, I saw the range of ways LeadingAge is helping members tackle the tough workforce challenges you face by addressing today’s pain points and paving the way for a more sustainable future. As I talked to members who traveled from across the country to be a part of these precious few days together, they renewed my conviction that our sector can weather this hardship and come out stronger.
Our day in DC began with coffee and conversation in a long windowed room overlooking the District’s beautiful spring trees in blossom. Held by our Leaders of Color Network, the morning reception highlighted our new professional networking group designed to spark career advancement in the field of aging services. We all know how critical it is to have racial and ethnic diversity among provider management—especially in light of the tremendous diversity of staff in frontline caregiving and support roles—so I was especially glad to see LeadingAge’s efforts to build a pipeline of professionals that reflects greater representation of people of color. (I’ll be stopping by the education session Tuesday to hear a snapshot of all LeadingAge’s work to-date presented by my colleagues at our LTSS Center for Research.)
And speaking of pipeline, it’s always great to see the students we bring to the Summit for the kind of first-hand experience with the sector that can inspire a career in aging services. The students (who attend our conferences on scholarships funded by your donations to the Larry Minnix Leadership Development Fund) bring a burst of energy and ideas to conversations about the future of the field. That exuberance recharges me—and I saw so many interactions that make me believe I’m not the only one!
If we’re going to turn this growing pipeline into a first-class workforce, we’ve got to make aging services organizations great places to work. Today’s keynote address by Michael C. Bush offered actionable advice on how we can attract truly great talent to our field—and he reminded us that a place to work is great only when it’s great to work for ALL.
If you’re in DC, I hope you’re as inspired as I am—and if you didn’t make it to the Summit this year, bookmark the What’s New page of LeadingAge.org to follow all the latest on the conference, workforce initiatives and much more from LeadingAge. Let’s get to work!