Charter Senior Living Combats Workforce Shortages With Promotion of Unique Apprenticeship Programming
Long-term care workforce shortages were a major talking point and concern during the February Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing. These shortcomings are being referred to as the worst in all of health care. According to senior living advocates, there’s a shortage of 400,000 caregivers for older adults—and that number will continue to increase in the years ahead.
Charter Senior Living, one of the nation’s leading senior living providers, is working to combat these workforce shortages by implementing a unique apprenticeship program that’s changing the career paths of its associates. Since launching the Healthcare Apprenticeship Expansion Program (HAEP) with senior living advocacy leader Argentum, Charter Senior Living has promoted 175 employees from its 45 senior living communities across the country.
HAEP was initiated through Argentum as part of a grant by the U.S. Department of Labor. It aims to address the skills gap in health care and health care IT occupations by expanding apprenticeships for positions like CNAs, LPNs, RNs and rehabilitation technicians, as well as creating new apprenticeship programs for health care leadership positions.
Charter Senior Living was one of many organizations to participate. “Through the program, associates are able to develop a career path by being assigned a mentor and provided additional training and education with the goal of job growth and promotions,” said Chief Operating Officer Jayne Sallerson. “We’ve seen such great success with this program with caregivers and nurses that we plan to expand it to other departments and managerial roles in the coming year.”
As part of the program, five winners from participating communities were announced as Argentum All-Star Apprentices of the Year. Two Charter Senior Living associates received this award and will receive aid to help them continue in their program and reach their professional aspirations.
The winners include Charter Senior Living of Gainesville’s Resident Care Coordinator Stephanie Dennis, who’s been with her community for 17 years, and 19-year associate and CNA Amanda Tharpe from Charter Senior Living of Paris. “Both women have shown extraordinary perseverance and a passion for training and sharing their knowledge with others in the field,” said Sallerson. “They strive to ensure the residents they work with are cared for in the same way they would care for their own family members.”
Dennis joined the Charter Senior Living of Gainesville team as a caregiver, but throughout the years, she has advanced to become a medical technician and now, a resident care coordinator. “Charter Senior Living and this apprenticeship program have given me opportunities I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else,” she said. “These residents are more like family to me, and it brings me so much joy to see them happy and thriving every day.”
Tharpe received her CNA certification at just 16 years old, and said she’s enjoyed all the career opportunities Charter Senior Living has provided. “I fell in love with the way each resident warmed my heart,” she said. “It became more than just a job; it gave me an overwhelming feeling of joy each day.”