Goodwin House Incorporated Publishes a “U.S. Citizenship Playbook” to Expand the Workforce for Senior Living and Healthcare Industries

Taking a leadership action to address the nation’s staffing shortages in senior living and health care services, Goodwin House Incorporated (GHI) has published “A Guide to Establishing a U.S. Citizenship Program for Employees.” The playbook draws from a GHI program that has helped more than 90 employees earn or begin the journey to U.S. Citizenship. GHI is a senior living and health care services organization that supports more than 2,300 older adults across the National Capital Region.

In 2018 and at the suggestion of a resident of Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads, GHI established the Citizenship Grant Program with a focus on providing staff members with grants to cover the cost of the U.S. citizenship application fee. Funded by donors to the Goodwin House Foundation, the program also helps connect staff with residents of GHI’s senior living communities who are eager to “give back” and tutor staff as they study and prepare for their citizenship exams.

“We feel honored that so many organizations and individuals around the country are interested in introducing a citizenship program within their organizations,” said Rob Liebreich, GHI President and CEO. “Creating a workplace that offers a sense of welcoming and belonging is a cornerstone of Goodwin House. Our citizenship program serves as a way to help our staff members achieve their goals, realize their dreams, and secure their futures.”

GHI was inspired to develop the playbook after receiving inquiries from organizations and individuals nationwide who read about the program in news articles stemming from a September citizenship ceremony hosted at GHI’s two campuses. These groups expressed interest in implementing similar programs for their own employees. This week, GHI is distributing the playbook to national and state associations in the senior living field, healthcare associations and partners, chambers of commerce, local and state ​governments, and career associations around the country.

According to McKnight’s Senior Living, immigrants make up 25.7% of the workforce in long-term care, and according to the Migration Policy Institute, 38% of home health aides are immigrants. The cost of U.S. citizenship application fees can be over $700, a significant expense for immigrants and their families. GHI’s citizenship playbook provides guidance on how to support these employees throughout the application process and alleviate the financial burden that comes with it.

“The cost of citizenship application fees should not be a barrier to anyone, and particularly those who dedicate their lives to working in the senior living and healthcare fields,” said Valerie Burke, GHI Chief Philanthropy Officer. “We’ve shared every detail of our program in this playbook with the hope that it will be another tool for other organizations to support their current and future staff members and address the growing shortage of employees to serve our nation’s older adults.”

A Guide to Establishing a U.S. Citizenship Program for Employees is available at no cost and can be accessed and downloaded by visiting https://goodwinhouse.org/blog/how-to-expand-your-workforce-by-launching-a-u-s-citizenship-program/.