Senator Murray Elevates LeadingAge Workforce Policy Priority

Legislation | April 20, 2021 | by Andrea Price-Carter

On April 20, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, held a hearing, “COVID-19 Recovery: Supporting Workers and Modernizing the Workforce Through Quality Education, Training, and Employment Opportunities.” The hearing focused on strengthening our nation’s workforce programs to provide quality education, training, and employment opportunities for working families impacted by the pandemic.

On April 20, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, held a hearing, “COVID-19 Recovery: Supporting Workers and Modernizing the Workforce Through Quality Education, Training, and Employment Opportunities.” The hearing focused on strengthening our nation’s workforce programs to provide quality education, training, and employment opportunities for working families impacted by the pandemic.

The hearing follows Chair Murray and the Ranking Senator, Richard Burr’s (R-NC) announcement in March that they intend to work together to develop bipartisan legislation to update and expand workforce training programs, support and expand the national apprenticeship system, and address growing workforce needs associated with the economic downturn.

During the hearing Senator Murray spoke about the importance of providing additional support to workers while they are in workforce training programs, such as child care, transportation, and broadband so people are able to access the training programs.  The committee heard from experts about how the nation can provide training opportunities for workers as we build back from this pandemic.

Prior to the conclusion of the hearing, Chair Murray posed a question to witness, Deniece Thomas, Deputy Commissioner of Workforce Learning and Development for the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The question asked about the shortage of home care workers and trained caregivers, and how the shortage will essentially get worse as more people continue to age, and how we need assistance with recruiting these needed workers.

Ms. Thomas responded, sharing how her agency has used “career navigation” to help individuals take the first step as home health aides and personal care aides. Barriers to entering the positions are often salary structure and child care, she said. Her agency will work with individuals who are in school and are willing to take part-time positions; part-time positions often help with help people balance their child care needs and become familiar with the home health care field, Ms. Thomas said. And, more workers enable more career pathways, which can help provide the needed public health workers across the state.

LeadingAge will continue to work with Senator Murray and members of the HELP Committee to underscore the importance of policies and programs that address the aging services workforce crisis. LeadingAge’s workforce goals include more programs that offer apprenticeship and other job training opportunities that will help with career pathways and advancement opportunities.