April 22, 2021
Contact: Eric Heisler, eheisler@phca.org

Long-Term Care Providers and Labor Unions Collaborate to Address Workforce Crisis

Pennsylvania grants $2 million to develop career pathways for 1,000 direct care workers

HARRISBURG, Pa. (April 19, 2021) –– In a collaborative effort to address alarming workforce shortages exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA), The Training and Education Fund (SEIU HealthCarePA) and District 1199C’s Training and Upgrading Fund have partnered to provide career pathways through occupational training and certification to 1,000 Pennsylvanians from now until Sept. 2022.


The partnership recently received a $2 million grant as part of Pennsylvania’s Direct Care Worker Training Grant allocations, which invested $4.8 million to improve patient care across the state. Addressing workforce concerns continues to be a top priority for the long-term care community. Prior to the severe workforce depletion caused by the pandemic, Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor & Industry identified a projected shortage of more than 22,000 direct care workers a year from now through 2026.


“An investment in our workforce is an investment in ensuring high-quality care for Pennsylvania’s growing senior population,” said Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of PHCA. “We are truly excited and grateful for this collaboration. In working with labor unions, our providers will be able to offer an employer perspective to tackle workforce needs and help program participants secure job placements, promotions and wage increases.”


The Training and Education Fund and District 1199C’s Training and Upgrading Fund represent Pennsylvania’s leading healthcare labor-management workforce development programs. 


“The Training and Education Fund’s mission has always been to support and empower our health care heroes,” said Lisa Williams, executive director of The Training and Education Fund. The crippling effects of COVID-19 on Pennsylvania’s workforce is a multi-tiered problem that requires a multi-tiered solution, and our efforts here will bring critically needed relief.”


“District 1199C is grateful to Gov. Wolf for awarding over $2 million to address the direct care workforce crisis in Pennsylvania,” said Elyse Ford, vice president of District 1199C. “This funding will allow District 1199C to work with important partners in the labor movement as well as employers to improve care options throughout the Commonwealth through increased training and education. District 1199C is proud to be involved in this effort that will improve the quality of care for patients and create opportunities for workers.”


The partnership will work to provide 500 incumbent nurse aides professional development opportunities in specialized skills, such as mental health first aid, crisis de-escalation, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and restorative care. In addition, 500 jobseekers will receive training and placement.


Lauren Gregg, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at Brookside Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, is currently enrolled in a CNA skills enrichment class offered by The Training and Education Fund.


“It’s definitely helped me at my workplace,” Gregg said. “It dives deeper into the process of being a healthcare worker and the skills needed for helping the elderly.” 


Training and certification through the partnership will be available in western and southeastern Pennsylvania. 


About The Training and Education Fund

The Training and Education Fund is a non-profit organization offering training, coaching,  and workshops throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to empower individuals through development and delivery of innovative healthcare training and education.


About District 1199C’s Training and Upgrading Fund

The District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund’s mission is: (1) providing access to career pathways in healthcare and human services for incumbent workers and job seekers through education, training and work-based learning; and, (2) building the capacity of the Delaware Valley’s healthcare industry to create a highly-skilled workforce through on-the-job training opportunities and the development of an education pipeline that aligns with career ladder steps.


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