LeadingAge Lays Out Care Workforce Agenda at National Rally of Certified Nursing Assistants

PRESS RELEASE | April 07, 2021 | by Lisa Sanders

“As the nation embarks on a conversation about strengthening our care economy, LeadingAge will work to ensure your value is recognized and integrated into the f

Contact: Lisa Sanders, lsanders@leadingage.org

April 7, 2021, Washington, DC—As the nation focuses on rebuilding America’s infrastructure, including the Care Economy, a top aging services leader joined an all-day “Virtual March on Washington” today to champion government funding, healthy workplace cultures, and career advancement opportunities for certified nursing assistants (CNAs).

”Direct care workers are the heart of aging services,” said Katie Smith Sloan, President and CEO of LeadingAge. “As the nation embarks on a conversation about how we strengthen our care economy, LeadingAge will work to ensure your value is recognized and integrated into the foundation of our aging services system.”

Sloan described an organization-wide effort to raise up the direct care workforce and CNAs:

  • Last fall, LeadingAge released a study—Making Care Work Pay—that found that raising the pay of direct care workers to a living wage benefits everyone. It showed that paying a living wage reduces turnover and staffing shortages, boosts productivity, and enhances quality of care. It also showed how a living wage increases overall economic growth in communities where direct care workers live. (Last week, the Biden Administration cited LeadingAge’s research in calling for a $400 billion investment in direct care workers as part of its American Jobs Plan.)
  • Last week, LeadingAge released its own Blueprint for a Better Aging Infrastructure to lay out what it will take to modernize our system of services, care and support for the 21st Century. The plan includes support for the direct care workforce, including ways to address acute shortages, and calls for training opportunities to help CNAs get ahead in their career. It ensures that enough high-quality care workers can be recruited to fill the millions of jobs serving the growing number of Americans who are growing older and need our support.

“So many of the CNAs who work with LeadingAge members tell me that they feel called to their work with older adults. I’m glad people outside our field are finally giving CNAs and home health aides the recognition you deserve,” Sloan added. “Now is the time for all of us to turn those sentiments into a new approach to investing in you, our essential workforce.”

Sloan was one of the first speakers to address the “Virtual March on Washington,” which featured more than twenty aging services leaders. In the coming weeks, LeadingAge will be releasing a broader vision for America’s aging services workforce, which they plan to implement with a coalition that includes aging services leaders and direct care workers.

About LeadingAge:

We represent more than 5,000 nonprofit aging services providers and other mission-minded organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we use applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building to make America a better place to grow old. Our membership, which now includes the providers of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, encompasses the continuum of services for people as they age, including those with disabilities. We bring together the most inventive minds in the field to lead and innovate solutions that support older adults wherever they call home. For more information visit leadingage.org.