Ecumen-managed Grand Village, a senior living and care center community in Grand Rapids, Minn., has received a $25,000 Workforce Solutions Grant from the LeadingAge Minnesota Foundation to help recruit new employees to senior care and to retain them after they are hired.
While demand for senior care in the Grand Rapids area is increasing, the available workforce is shrinking. The Northeast region of Minnesota has the highest vacancy rate of nurses and nursing assistants in the state.
Grand Village is using the grant money to create a “peer mentor” program for newly hired nursing assistants to support them during their first 90 days of employment. Experienced employees will help train and guide them in a structured approach to becoming familiar with their new jobs. Also, becoming a mentor is a new path for established employees to grow their careers and compensation.
“We’ve found that most turnover in senior care happens in the first 90 days of employment,” said Kyle Hedlund, Executive Director at Grand Village. “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.”
The grant from LeadingAge Minnesota, the state’s largest association of aging services providers, was awarded through a program funded by the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (MACP), a foundation that takes a strong interest in workforce issues in rural Minnesota. MCAP supported the $1 million Workforce Solutions Grant program to improve the experience of care for older adults by funding emerging and proven workforce strategies that increase the quality, quantity and capacity of the caregiving workforce.
Grand Village is a non-profit skilled nursing community providing short-term and rehabilitation care, long-term care and memory care. It was founded in 1896 by Itasca County and continues to be owned by the county and managed by Ecumen.