With the global coronavirus pandemic compounding workforce recruitment and retention issues for senior living providers, a senior living trade association is partnering with a career network to launch a caregiver certification and job placement program.

The Florida Senior Living Association and myCNAjobs, a Tampa, FL-based career network for frontline healthcare workers, are partnering with Rush University Professor of Nursing Beth Ann Chrtisopher to launch a free caregiver certification online course to increase awareness in senior living careers.

Even before the global pandemic, Florida senior living communities struggled to recruit frontline caregivers, as do operators across the country. COVID-19 presented new challenges, including fear of the unknown when it comes to working in a community that serves a vulnerable elderly population. Workforce recruitment and retention remains a top challenge for the industry.

“COVID-19 has certainly created many challenges for our profession, but it also has offered us a unique opportunity,” FSLA President Gail Matillo said. “We need to capitalize on this moment to invest in a stronger, healthier workforce. That starts with ensuring people understand what the profession is and helping them develop the right skills to succeed in their jobs.”

The course is a four-hour, mobile-friendly training program that covers the fundamentals of a job in senior living and care, the responsibilities and skills required, and how to approach a career in the senior living industry. Those who complete the course can immediately schedule interviews and be matched with local employers.

“This is a multifaceted strategy that involves not only bringing more awareness to careers in aging, but also bringing together the association and over 400 senior living executives to have an important conversation on the needs of frontline workers to coach up a vulnerable population and ensure there’s a true career path,” myCNAjobs CEO Brandi Kurtyka said. “Immediately, we can drive awareness to get Floridians back to work while setting the stage for a dialogue on ensuring senior living is a profession people want to pursue longer-term.”