Virtual Lobby Day Breaks Records and Focuses on Workforce Priorities

Workforce | April 27, 2021 | by Joe Franco

Every year, LeadingAge connects members with their lawmakers on Capitol Hill to advocate for policies that create programs to augment our workforce, remove barriers to care, provide more affordable senior housing, develop new services, improve reimbursement, and make America a better place for older adults.

On April 21st, LeadingAge hosted our first ever Virtual Lobby Day and 423 LeadingAge members hosted 302 virtual congressional meetings to talk about our key legislative priorities. Members were able to share stories and were also able to have discussions with U.S. Representatives and Senators who were able to join the meetings.

One of the main priorities covered in all of these legislative meetings was the importance of supporting and growing our workforce for those who serve older adults. LeadingAge members were able to speak to their support for legislation that addresses the workforce crisis with solutions that help recruit, train new workers in our field. They also helped elevate support for programs that will increase pay for direct care workers to at least a living wage. Members also talked about how important it is for Congress to consider developing a legislative proposal for a guest worker program in aging services modeled after the LeadingAge IMAGINE Initiative.

Timing of the Lobby Day was great opportunity to push the LeadingAge agenda in Washington. Congress is in the early stages of determining how they will consider President Joe Biden’s
American Jobs Plan, a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan that includes $400 billion dollars to rebuild the nation’s caregiving economy.

LeadingAge members used the Virtual Lobby Day as an opportunity to further promote the LeadingAge Blueprint for a Better Aging Infrastructure, which offers a series of recommendations that ensure aging services are an essential part of Congress’s infrastructure work, and a series that build a larger, stronger aging services workforce. Bills are likely to start hitting the House and Senate by July, and LeadingAge is aggressively working to continue to promote its priorities on Capitol Hill.