CareerSTAT Academy Member Spotlight: Guardian Elder Care and SEIU Healthcare PA Training and Education Fund

CareerSTAT Healthcare Workforce Development Academy

Beginning in November 2017, CareerSTAT brought together 11 healthcare organizations for the CareerSTAT Healthcare Workforce Development Academy. This year-long learning experience helps healthcare organizations develop more diverse talent pipelines, better retain and advance their entry-level staff, and proactively fill critical healthcare positions. An initiative of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, CareerSTAT is a network of nearly 300 healthcare professionals who are committed to advancing healthcare’s frontline workers. The Academy supports CareerSTAT’s goal to accelerate the adoption of business practices that support frontline worker education, training, and advancement. Over the coming months, we are profiling each of the Academy participants and their progress. Read profiles of other CareerSTAT Academy Members here

Guardian Elder Care and SEIU Healthcare PA Training and Education Fund

Identifying Opportunities to Upskill

The Overview

Brianna Kimmel used her tuition assistance benefits to train as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Here she is at graduation.

The Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania Training and Education Fund serves union members who are employed under union-negotiated contracts at multiple employers in Pennsylvania. This includes one hospital and 57 long-term care facilities, 17 of which are owned by Guardian Elder Care. Together, Guardian Elder Care and the Training and Education Fund provide workers with the support they need to gain skills, go back to school, and move up—all while improving the quality of care for patients and residents. The efforts to support workers have the added benefit of reducing turnover and providing opportunities for career advancement to more than 4,300 frontline workers.

The Work

Unemployment is at an all-time low across the country, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. A total of 12.8 million people are unemployed, under-employed, or marginally attached to the labor market. Meanwhile, key industries report a shortage of qualified applicants for in-demand jobs. This environment is forcing employers to explore new ways to attract and retain workers.

Ensuring employees have a clear path for advancement and can see a long-term career at the organization is one of those strategies.

Guardian and the Training and Education Fund work with an extensive list of community partners. This allows them to attract new workers into non-clinical positions and provide additional training and education opportunities that elevate these workers into advancement opportunities. Current employees can also take advantage of these career advancement offerings.

There are several training opportunities available that provide a pathway to promotion and wage increases, including a mid-level supervisor leadership training program, two programs to train certified nurse assistants, and a mentor training program.

Meaningful training and achievable career advancement paths help workers maintain stable employment. Guardian and the Training and Education Fund wanted to demonstrate, replicate, and evaluate the impact of their efforts. They focused on building an organizational workforce plan. It includes developing sustainable programs, implementing processes, and establishing a data and evaluation program to track and measure success. Guardian and the Training and Education Fund want to make data-driven decisions regarding future workforce investments.

Currently, the two organizations are refining the data collection process and analyzing the data to better understand the long-term impact on retention rates and turnover, with the goal of sharing the data and results in other communities and health systems.

The Results

To date, 384 workers have gone through the leadership training program for mid-level supervisors, and there is a waiting list of employees interested in participating in the program. The two certified nurse assistant programs have merged, and in 2018, 113 individuals received certified nursing assistant training, and at least 53% of them have been retained.

Since implementing these efforts, the number of frontline workers increased from 2,532 to 4,321 frontline workers. It is becoming increasingly clear to partner organizations that establishing career pathways, mentorship programs, and in-demand skills training is a boon to both employees and employers.

The Future

Guardian Elder Care and the Training and Education Fund are tracking the progress of enrolled employees and using the data to improve their offerings. With the merger and implementation of new programs, developing the workforce will continue with a much more tailored approach that applies lessons learned. Refining the data collection will clearly show how these programs assisted in maintaining and training a talented and robust workforce.

About CareerSTAT

CareerSTAT is a network of nearly 300 healthcare professionals who are committed to advancing healthcare’s frontline workers. Learn more at