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Michigan: $25 Million Grant for Nursing Home Workforce Stability

What does this mean for Michigan’s nursing home workers?


Michigan has the 14th oldest population in the US, and Michiganders 85 and older are the fastest-growing group of all. Residents over the age of 60 represent 25 percent of the state’s population.


The demand for quality care in Michigan is reaching dire proportions, with high turnover and workforce shortages across the state driven by persistent low wages, lack of benefits, poor job quality, and “dead-end” caregiving jobs without opportunities for advancement. A survey conducted by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) earlier this year revealed that a staggering 86 percent of nursing homes in the United States in the U.S. are experiencing moderate to severe staffing shortages.


The majority of women of color in the workforce have faced generations of racial and gender inequities that devalues caregivers. Nursing home workers especially have been historically underpaid and undervalued in the care economy. While nursing assistants perform the lion’s share of caregiving work in these facilities, they are often paid minimum wage and don’t have access to benefits and retirement plans. Nursing homes often significantly cut the number of beds and even close facilities and services because of their chronic lack of resources for their workers.


As Michigan’s population ages and the demand for home care increases exponentially, the lack of available caregivers threatens the health and well-being of millions of older adults and people with disabilities who rely on caregivers for daily personal care and support.

To address these critical challenges in Michigan, H-CAP and our collaborators have secured a $25 million grant from the state of Michigan.


The grant will fund a labor-management collaboration - including employers and workers - that is committed to the development of sustainable long-term solutions to recruit, train, and retain staff and to build a stable, high-quality workforce for nursing homes.


Improved Access to Key Benefits


One of the primary focuses of the H-CAP grant is to provide improved access to key benefits. In the nursing home industry, employees often face low wages and inadequate benefits. By offering better compensation packages, including competitive salaries and comprehensive health benefits, this grant can make working in nursing homes a more practical choice for care workers.


Programs for Recruitment and Retention Efforts


The H-CAP grant aims to create programs that harness the expertise of seasoned care workers in nursing homes. These programs can involve mentorship initiatives where experienced staff members guide and support their less-experienced colleagues. Senior employees can be actively involved in recruitment efforts, serving as ambassadors who can share that nursing home work is now a more sustainable career path in Michigan. By tapping into the wealth of knowledge and experience of long-serving staff, nursing homes can bridge the staffing gap more effectively.


Worker-Centered Training Initiatives

The H-CAP grant will allocate resources to develop and implement worker-centered training initiatives. These programs will not only equip workers with the necessary skills but also empower them to take ownership of their professional development. Worker-centered training fosters a culture of continuous learning, which benefits staff, residents, and their families. It enhances job satisfaction, boosts confidence, and ultimately contributes to staff retention.


Robust Wrap-Around Supports for Success

This support goes beyond the workplace and includes addressing personal and professional challenges that workers may face. The H-CAP grant will invest in programs that offer assistance with issues such as childcare, transportation, and access to mental health services. Nursing homes can create a more supportive and sustainable work environment by alleviating some of the stressors that can lead to burnout.

Infrastructure and Operational Supports

In addition to addressing the needs of individual workers, the H-CAP grant recognizes the importance of enhancing nursing homes' overall infrastructure and operations. This includes upgrading facilities, implementing modern technologies to improve resident care, and streamlining administrative processes to reduce the burden on staff. By investing in infrastructure and operational improvements, nursing homes can create an environment where staff can perform their duties more efficiently, leading to increased job satisfaction and retention.

Supporting MediLodge’s & Villa Healthcare’s workers in Michigan

The $25 million grant will provide support for nursing home employees in 66 MediLodge and Villa Healthcare facilities in the state from 2023-2024. H-CAP will work closely with nursing home operators and the union to facilitate problem-solving and implementation of proposal strategies.

By adopting an innovative and collaborative approach that involves workers, unions, and employers, this grant seeks to create sustainable, long-term solutions for the nursing home workforce. Through improved access to benefits, utilization of experienced workers, worker-centered training initiatives, robust wrap-around support, and investments in infrastructure and operations, the H-CAP grant aims to build a stable, high-quality workforce that will improve the quality of care for residents and ensure the long-term success of nursing homes.

With initiatives like these, the nursing home industry can move closer to resolving its staffing crisis and providing the professional care and support necessary to meet the needs of Michigan’s aging population and their families.


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