July 17, 2023

30 percent federal funding cut jeopardizes senior living workforce programs, provider group says

McKnights Senior Living

A proposed funding cut of almost 30% for the Department of Labor could jeopardize senior living workforce training programs being launched in several states, according to Argentum.

Friday, the House Appropriations Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittee approved FY24 spending levels that “drastically” cut several federal workforce training programs.

Details in the bill are still emerging, but Argentum Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Maggie Elehwany said that the subcommittee proposals eliminate programs including Job Corps and reduce grants for workforce and apprenticeship programs. Argentum is partnering with Management & Training Corp. to help meet its strategic plan goal of building a reliable pool of competent senior living workers while fulfilling MTC’s mission to provide Job Corps students with updated training, real world-based learning experiences and gainful employment.

“Argentum has made great progress in utilizing Job Corps, Job Centers, federal Closing the Skills Gap grants and federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity grants to help alleviate the senior living workforce crisis,” Elehwany said. “Senior living workforce training programs are currently being launched in several states through Department of Labor programs. Those efforts could be jeopardized if these cuts were to be enacted.”

The timing of the cuts, she added, is particularly problematic for senior living providers who are facing staffing shortages. The combined long-term care sector lost 400,000 positions during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the industry far below pre-pandemic staffing levels. Although challenges have begun to ease, 82% of senior living providers are still experiencing staffing shortages, and 48% are concerned that those shortages might force them to close, Elehwany said.

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