Message from LeadingAge CA President and CEO Jeannee Parker Martin
Engage Magazine General Interest Winter 2021

From the CEO: The Workforce Evolution


Jeannee Parker Martin - From the CEOOne year into the pandemic, work culture has forever changed. COVID-19 exposed significant and systemic disparities in workforce in housing, care and services for older adults, including wage gaps, inequities in the ability to work during a crisis, and chronic staffing shortages. Growing the workforce remains a critical initiative in LeadingAge California’s strategic plan, and we’re at the forefront of these issues formulating public policy, advancing leadership and education, and elevating public awareness. Two years ago, we convened a Workforce Situation Room to gain perspectives on solutions for workforce development, recruitment and retention for our members. 

We are now in the final review of a comprehensive Workforce Blueprint for Action that can soon be utilized by our members. The plan is built around the complex and diverse work environments of our members, with equity and inclusion as core principles for building a high-quality workforce.  

As we continue our focused work with California communities and members, LeadingAge created a new complimentary Student Membership so individuals can explore tips, tools and resources to jumpstart their career in serving older adults. They also recently launched the development of a Summer Enrichment Program designed to provide opportunities for diverse students to gain exposure to leadership opportunities, and partnered with major national employers to connect displaced workers from dining, retail, and hospitality with available jobs in housing, care and services. 

In this issue of Engage Magazine, we offer an in-depth exploration of how the workforce continues to evolve as we reach the first anniversary of the pandemic. For this quarter, we explore diverse perspectives, including interviews with California Community College educators to learn about their preparation for the next generation of workers. The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology weighs in on the concept of curricular content and career training; we interview gerontology students to hear how their vision of working with older adults has been impacted over the past year; we explore new ideas for motivation and enhancing the workforce through Covia’s new “Creative Spark” program; and California Future Healthcare Workforce Commissioner Heather Young provides insight on how to create a workforce to assure that every Californian can thrive as we age. 

Collectively with our members, industry partners, and the diverse communities we collaborate with, there is a resolution that at the end of the day, we all want a happy, healthy, thriving community for all of California’s older adults, and for the workforce who choose this purpose-driven path.  

We hope you enjoy this issue!