LeadingAge has launched a new effort to help members and state affiliates solve issues related to recruiting and retaining workers, the organization announced Wednesday.

Susan Hildebrandt, vice president of workforce initiatives at LeadingAge, will direct the activities of the LeadingAge Center for Workforce Solutions.

In a recent LeadingAge survey of members, 83.7% of respondents said that finding a sufficient number of qualified applicants for vacancies was a top challenge, 65% identified competitive pay as a pressing issue, and 63% said that turnover was a challenge.

“LeadingAge has made it a strategic priority to address these challenges,” Hildebrandt, who came to the organization late last year from the Patient Centered Outreach Research Institute, said in an article posted on the LeadingAge website. She had been director of stakeholder engagement at PCORI.

LeadingAge said that the center’s work will be guided by a National Workforce Advisory Group, a representative group of LeadingAge members and state executives. A subcommittee of the advisory group will address workforce challenges faced by rural providers.

At first, the center will focus on collecting and disseminating information about promising practices related to recruitment and retention as well as workforce initiatives being undertaken by state affiliates. Longer term, the center plans to collaborate with community colleges, businesses and other partners to find practical solutions to workforce challenges.

“We need to develop messaging that portrays the aging services workforce as a valuable, valued and critical profession,” Hildebrandt said. “We need to demystify aging and aging services, raise awareness among nontraditional workers about careers they might pursue in the aging field, and convince prospective workers that these really are the jobs of the future.”