HAEP: Creating a Win-Win Strategy

For Senior Living Apprenticeship By Sara Wildberger

with the right partners and program design, an achievable one. With the help of a nearly $6 million, four-


year grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, awarded following a national com- petitive process, Argentum has launched the Healthcare Apprenticeship Expansion Program (HAEP). Designed to dramatically expand

workforce development in the senior living industry, HAEP brings together senior living operators, universities, nonprofit or- ganizations, workforce agencies, and other partners including select hospital systems and allied health providers. Managing HAEP is Megan Robinson,

Argentum project manager of workforce development and apprenticeships. Her professional roots are embedded in career readiness and workforce development, with positions including university career coun- seling, often for first-generation students; and managing a Department of Labor grant to build a talent pipeline for careers in warehousing and distribution. In this conversation, she and Brent Weil,

vice president, workforce development, give a look at the need for HAEP, how it’s differ- ent from other programs, and what’s ahead.

ROBINSON: Apprenticeships are a win-win. For the employee, a career path is clearly outlined; they’ll know the types of wage in- creases and promotions they can earn, and they get on-the-job training. For the employer, it's also beneficial: They

get to train employees to a skill set that’s ex- actly what they need for their organization.

WEIL: Many of these are things that senior living providers are doing already. The ap-


ringing more than 7,000 appren- tices into key occupations in senior living is an ambitious goal—and,

prenticeship formalizes and structures them, so employees understand every step toward building a long-term career pathway.

ROBINSON: One thing that’s resonated for me, as we’ve talked with employers, is the issue of turnover. Apprenticeship models speak to this—while employees are train- ing, they’re increasing their buy-in to the organization. Turnover really decreases when apprenticeship models are in place.

WEIL: It's become clear that retention of our workers is critical to our continued competitiveness. Apprenticeship is a way to show our team members that they're val- ued, that we see their ability to grow as far as they want to. And for us to lay out that path with them makes them equal owners of their careers. We built it to be flexible. We know each

provider is different and has its own training protocols, and we’re taking account of that. Ultimately, we have much more in common than we have differences. One aspect of this program is it provides

a lot of support. For the employers, there’s help with navigating the federal processes such as reporting. We've heard that this is something providers have long been

interested in, but they didn’t have the bandwidth to take on some of those func- tions. We also will be funding a portion of eligible training costs for apprentices.

ROBINSON: There’s also support for em- ployees. We're working with an organization, Family Scholar House, which is providing wraparound supports and case management—including $600,000 in emergency assistance payments, in case an apprentice is having trouble with trans- portation, childcare, or basic needs. This addresses retention as well. According to a study by Activated Insights and Great Place to Work last year, two highly significant factors in employee retention were their personal caregiving needs, such as for their own parents or children, and their commuting conditions. Employers who addressed those issues were able to reduce their turnover. That improves quality and saves them money.

Megan Robinson, Project Manager, Apprenticeships & Workforce Development Argentum

Healthcare Apprenticeship Expansion Program (HAEP) • 4-year goal: 7,239 registered apprentices

• Targeted occupations: certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, rehabilitation technicians, pharmacy technicians, executive directors, healthcare cybersecurity specialists.

• Apprentices will earn industry-recognized credentials and have access to a complete menu of support services such as transportation assistance.

• Register for the Senior Living Insights webinar on Innovative Training Models to learn more about HAEP: 1 p.m. Thursday, August 6, at Part of the Workforce Development Series, sponsored by OnShift.

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