Connecting Minnesotans who need work with the senior care employers who need them

picture of woman in scrubs in health care setting

By Shawn Herhusky and Jessica Miller

CareerForce is dedicated to finding ways to support people affected by layoffs, furloughs, and job loss by connecting them to new career opportunities in our Health Care sector. One of our priorities right now is connecting those seeking work in the health care sector to senior care providers who desperately need their skills to care for our most vulnerable Minnesotans. In an effort to expedite the certification and training process, the state of Minnesota and local and state partners have come together with online training and certification options and testing deferment in order to get people into their new jobs and on the floor helping others as quickly as possible. Many care facilities and community-based organizations are also offering free or online training to get people started with their career in senior care in particular or health care in general.

Information for people looking for work in senior care
If you are looking for a career where you can make a real difference now and in the future, Minnesota seniors need you now. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have senior care experience, just that you have a heart for helping older Minnesotans and desire to be a health care hero during these difficult times.  

Employers will provide necessary training for many entry-level positions that could put you on a path to a senior care career. If you have health care credentials a wide range of career opportunities are available to you. 

Consider participating in a Virtual Career Fair focused on those interested in working in senior care on May 11 at 10:30am. This is an online event, so you will need internet access and registration is required. Find out more and register here.

For those not able to participate in the Virtual Career Fair and for anyone looking for more information on senior care careers, the website is a great way to explore current career opportunities and get back to work. There are short-term and long-term career opportunities for job seekers, particularly beginning with entry-level positions such as Home Health Aides, Dietary Aides, Housekeeping, and Nursing Assistants. 

Minnesota’s two leading senior care industry associations, Care Providers of Minnesota and LeadingAge Minnesota have an important message to share with those considering a rewarding and essential career in senior care.

“Caring Careers Start Here is targeted at people who are looking to take the first step in a new career, apply their experience in a new sector or to return to their profession as way to give back during this unprecedented public health emergency,” said Jenna Kellerman, Director of Workforce Solutions, LeadingAge Minnesota. “At a time when Minnesota is facing a large growth in its unemployment rate, there are thousands of jobs available in nursing homes, assisted living and memory care. Caring Careers Start Here is the vital link in connecting people with jobs across Minnesota.”

“Senior care is a mission-driven field that is both challenging and rewarding. To know that you’ve helped the most vulnerable among us live with dignity and independence is extremely gratifying. This is a profession with many opportunities, both at the entry level and beyond. We are all about hiring heroes who want to serve others. Please consider joining us today,” Nicole Mattson, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives with Care Providers of Minnesota.

Information for senior care employers

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Minnesota Department of Health have made emergency changes to help remove barriers to hiring nursing assistants.  

One of those emergency changes is a waiver of the 4-Month Rule, which is a requirement that a nursing assistant must be added to the nurse assistant registry within four months of the date of hire. With testing locations closed due to COVID-19, this means that newly hired nurse assistants won’t run the risk of their time expiring to take the Nursing Assistant Test Out (NATO) before testing locations are available again.

Here are some recommendations from Care Providers of Minnesota, one of Minnesota’s two leading senior care industry associations, for hiring for a non-direct care position or a nursing assistant who is not on the registry today:

Recruitment Strategies:

  • Depending on your needs, consider hiring people into non-direct care roles to augment care and supportive services. Think about roles such as dietary, housekeeping, activities, hospitality or customer service—or areas where a new hire could replace an existing staff person with a license or credential that you could then redeploy within your facility.
  • CareerForce locations continue to provide services to dislocated workers, many of whom may already be credentialed to work in your settings. CareerForce also works with many community partners.
  • Contact your local Workforce Development Board Director to communicate hiring needs; each of the local directors (and/or their staff) would know about upcoming job fairs, be able to communicate employer needs to job counselors, etc.
  • Consider posting your needs on the Minnesota Works Job Bank, as DEED is pushing out information about employers/industries who are currently hiring.

Hiring Steps for Nursing Assistants-not on registry

  1. Recruit
  2. Hire—subject to acceptable background screening
  3. Complete background study
  4. Complete TB symptom screen
  5. Use AHCA 8 hour Nurse Aide training in addition to facility orientation——to provide onboarding training for your new NA. This course a free 8-hour online training program. It is designed to provide just the basics of resident care. Please note—this would not take the place of NA training, rather provide some initial training.
  6. Internal competency testing of all skills and techniques to be used
  7. If you want the individual to work beyond the waiver period, consider enrolling them in training program—either start your own with CNA Online course or use another state approved training course  (facility pays)
  8. Good to go! Plan to have the new employee complete their NA training within the waiver period

Hiring Steps for Non-Direct Care Staff

  1. Recruit
  2. Hire, subject to acceptable background screening
  3. Complete background study
  4. Complete TB symptom screen
  5. Internal competency testing of skills to be used
  6. Good to go!

Shawn Herhusky is a Workforce Strategy Consultant with DEED for the Northeast region and Jessica Miller is a Workforce Strategy Consultant with DEED for the South Central/Southwest region.