Last week, Governor Dayton kicked off his statewide jobs tour with a visit to PioneerCare in Fergus Falls. During his visit, Dayton spent a significant amount of time talking with administrator Nathan Johnson and the senior staff at PioneerCare, focused specifically on the unique workforce challenges and opportunities that exist in the field of older adult services.

It’s no surprise that Governor Dayton would choose a long-term care provider as the first stop on a statewide jobs tour – the long-term care sector in Minnesota generates nearly $7 billion in economic activity across the state. Older adult service providers are job-creators who play a significant role in the economic vitality of their communities.

If Minnesota is going to meet the growing demand for a full spectrum of housing, support services and health care for older adults, we will need to develop new career paths in long-term care and ways to attract and retain the very best workforce. As providers transform the ways they deliver care and services to meet the demands of today’s seniors, we also must ensure that the career opportunities in this field reflect the changing skills, interests and demands of the next generation of our workforce.

The Health Support Specialist apprenticeship program is a perfect example of a new workforce model for older adult services designed to do just that. This first-of-its kind program cross-trains workers to build the skills and confidence to perform a much wider range of roles and responsibilities within the emerging “household model” of delivering care.

This new position offers greater depth of responsibility, more job satisfaction and higher wages for employees, while delivering a new kind of customer service for residents and greater overall value and flexibility for employers. Often described as the “blended worker” model, this is just one example of the kinds of new ideas that will shape the future of Minnesota’s health care workforce.

Click here to read about how the team at PioneerCare is thinking about these issues, and how they spent their time talking with Governor Dayton.

What is your organization doing to attract and retain the next generation of workers? What are the challenges you’re facing as you build your team?