LeadingAge California will use a $25 million grant from the California Health and Human Services Department to help expand the association’s efforts to bolster the long-term care workforce pipeline via certified nursing assistant and home health aide training and development.
The grant, awarded earlier this month, will be dispersed over three years to help the Gateway-In Project, launched June 15.
“Older-adult care facilities and home and community-based settings are facing severe workforce shortages. The Gateway-In Project will begin to change that story by cultivating the next generation of CNAs and HHAs as well as supporting those already in the field,” LeadingAge California President and CEO Jeannee Parker Martin said in a press release.
The Gateway-In Project is expected to add 2,700 new CNAs and HHAs over three years. The program will be available at no charge to students looking for training and certification. LeadingAge California place graduates in positions and then encourage them to stay by offering incentives for retention at one, six and 12 months. Program participants also will have opportunities to learn about empathy and climate disaster and could receive stipends for transportation, food support, child care and English-as-a-second-language training.
According to the association, existing pipeline and development programs are inadequate to address the state’s growing need for aides. The Golden State has the largest number of older adults in the country, and it is projected to need an additional 275,000 direct care workers by 2026 to meet their needs, LeadingAge California said. More than 50% of the state’s CNAs work in skilled nursing facilities or community care facilities serving older adults.
“CNAs and HHAs play an essential role in these facilities and in home and community-based
settings, often serving as the principal caregivers and having the most personal contact with residents than any other staff member or family member,” the association said.