St. Mark’s Living receives workforce grant; $24K will go to helping recruit new employees

Published 8:01 am Tuesday, August 1, 2017

St. Mark’s Living has received a $24,840 Workforce Solutions Grant to help recruit new employees to senior care and to retain them after they are hired.

the grant comes from LeadingAge Minnesota Foundation, the state’s largest association of aging services provider.

At a time when demand for senior care is increasing, the available workforce is shrinking, according to Executive Director for St. Mark’s Living, Murray Finger. St. Mark’s will use the grant money to develop a multifaceted education and training program focused on mentoring new employees and providing career advancement for top performing employees.

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Its “Peer Mentor” program for newly-hired nursing and resident assistants will be used to support the new hires during their first 90 days of employment. Experienced employee mentors will help train and guide them in a structured approach to becoming familiar with their new jobs. The mentors, in turn, can grow their careers and receive higher compensation.

“We’ve found that most turnover in senior care happens in the first 90 days of employment,” Finger said. “One way we can stay ahead of issues that might prompt new hires to leave is by having experienced peers guide new employees through the adjustment process. Many of our new hires are younger and research shows that members of the millennial generation are more likely to stay at a job where they have developed friendships and a support network at work.”

Finger said peer mentors would be identified for each shift. With the grant in hand, planning will now begin for the program. He said a start date was still to be identified.

The grant was awarded through a $1 million Workforce Solutions Grant program. The goal is to improve the experience of care for older adults by funding workforce strategies that increase the quality, quantity and capacity of the caregiving workforce.

St. Marys Living is an Ecumen-managed senior living and healthcare campus that provides a full continuum of living and care options for older adults in Austin, including rehabilitation services, independent living, assisted living, memory care, long-term skilled nursing care, respite care and hospice.