By Steve Moran
This article probably needs to actually be four articles, but here are the highlights:
The Wall Street Journal Saturday/Sunday, May 11-12, 2019 in the B section devotes more than half of the column inches to “The Class of 2019” who will be entering the workforce. None of it is directly related to senior living, but lots of valuable food for thought.
In senior living we talk about the “Human Capital Challenge,” but really we have two very different problems that should be talked about and thought about differently. Except for both being human capital they have almost nothing else in common.
A. We spend most of the time and effort right now on front line staff and, on the surface, this seems correct. I am not sure it is because when the leaders of those front line folks are performing at a peak level the front line problem becomes a ton easier to solve.
B. The other almost completely unrelated problem is the leadership problem. With a few exceptions, as an industry, we don’t do a good job of recruiting and training leaders. I have so much more to say about this. Watch for more content in the future.
We do a terrible job of letting the potential workforce know about what we do and why we are so great. I have come to believe we are much worse storytellers than I had ever imagined.
We have this huge inferiority complex, thinking that every other industry is better at everything than we are. There is no doubt there are other industries that are better at some things than we are, but not nearly as many or as much better. What we miss is that every single industry out there has things that really need to be better, just like ours.
In reality, we are doing an amazing job at so many things. We are providing great care, we are maybe even now, the very best industry sector for people to go from a high school equivalency degree to CEO. This all brings me to the article headline: Do You Know About Vision 2025?
Vision 2025 is an invite-only, first of its kind, first-ever symposium to explore the relationship of senior living with universities. The big idea is to explore how senior living can tap into existing university programs and influence those programs to better serve senior living, residents and their families. It will take place this June in Chicago and the attendees will be a mix of key influencers from senior living and aging services organizations, university leadership, along with other association and professional leaders.
Senior living needs more talented leaders, universities are developing leaders including those who want to be a part of the senior living workforce. Today, if we are honest it does not work as well as it should. The goal of this gathering is to explore how to make the university/senior living operator relationship work better so we enhance and expand the number of senior living students over the next five years.
The expected output from this symposium will be a consensus strategy for how the two sectors can work together to serve senior living and students. This strategy will include accountability, timelines, and resource needs. More specifically to ensure the health and continuity of senior living through the development of at least 25 robust university and college programs that train our future leaders, create 1,000 paid internships, develop 15 strong university, provider and association partnerships, and do this all by the year 2025.
This effort is being spearheaded by Doug Olson, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; Ed Kenny, LCS; and Steve Chies, St. Joseph’s College.
This is a big step forward in the evolution of our sector toward being the most important part of the aging continuum.