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NAVIGATING NEW DISTANCES


Displaced Workers and Providers Have a Chance to Meet Their Match


As senior living providers needed workers be- cause of COVID-19—and as workers across the country lost jobs under the suffering econ- omy—a collaboration of Argentum, Ameri- can Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), Arena, and OnShift provided a way to help both groups: Senior Living FastMatch. Created in a few days as Arena adapted


its Talent Discovery product, and launched April 7, FastMatch is open to all and free through September 2020. The FastMatch link and instructions live on the Senior Living Works website seniorliving.works/ fastmatch. “Arena is thrilled to be partnering with …


senior living providers across the country in matching folks to jobs where they can thrive and find dignity,” says Arena CEO Michael Rosenbaum. “Given the pandemic's impact on so


many workers, we are finding that our technology's ability to predict for retention and job success without relying on a resume and traditional background analysis is help- ing countless individuals.” Arena reports 1,500 unique expressions


of interest in jobs on the platform, with several thousand applicants coming to the platform each week—a number that is still increasing as of the end of June. More than 1,200 communities are using the program, and applicants have been sent to senior living communities in 44 states.


Filling an urgent need Argentum also worked with organizations such as the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the National Restaurant Asso- ciation Foundation, and the National Retail Federation to get the word out. “We had an opportunity to really be


nimble in our response, so we stood up a resource that could attract hourly workers from other industries that had been impact- ed negatively,” says Brent Weil, Argentum


14 SENIOR LIVING EXECUTIVE JULY/AUGUST 2020


vice president, workforce development. “The idea was to get the right match within senior living positions.” Nationwide, more than 40 million people


have filed first-time unemployment claims, a stunning number—and one that led urgency to the program. “It's obviously a hugely challenging time


for everybody,” Weil says. “We do have an opportunity in senior living to introduce ourselves to workers who may not have had exposure to senior living careers before.” Applicants can enter through Argen-


tum’s Senior Living Works website. They typically spend 5 to 10 minutes on the platform to give information. “We then identify specific communities and job roles within 15 to 25 miles of their location, jobs where they are predicted to be retained and thrive,” Rosenbaum says. The Arena team helps applicants who have questions or need support.


By Sara Wildberger Despite the differences in environments,


the match of skills across jobs can be quite strong, Weil says, especially in dining, food service, and hospitality, because “sensitivity and serving people has been a big part of their culture as well.” “We originally thought applicants


would be largely from the hospitality and restaurant industry,” Rosenbaum says. “But we're finding that we are also have a large number of health care workers who have been furloughed in acute care coming to the site as well.”


People who care The constant shifting of the disease’s impact on health and the overall economic picture creates so many variables that summing up the results and lessons learned from the pro- gram may not be possible for several months. Some communities are reporting increas- es in hiring, and some, decreases. As waves


“Arena is thrilled to be partnering with … senior living providers across the country in matching folks to jobs where they can thrive and find dignity,” says Arena CEO Michael Rosenbaum.


Senior Living Works provides a section


describing the many jobs in senior living, and an introduction to career paths. An OnShift link leads to a toolbox for employ- ers on handling hiring and interviewing in COVID-19 conditions, how to craft a job posting to get results, and more.


Matching up skills Arena has seen senior living placements including former restaurant chefs, hotel housekeepers, and hospitality salespeople and other professionals.


of the pandemic ebb and flow, employees may have to quarantine themselves or even leave positions to care for or out concern for their own families. In addition, the emer- gency funding for unemployment benefits has sometimes made it more appealing to stay home as long as possible (or as long as schools are closed). “We recognize that there are a lot of chal-


lenges to bringing people in,” Weil says. “But we don’t need all 40 million. We think we can be a very attractive option for a percentage of people who really do want to help.”


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