SACRAMENTO (June 28, 2022)—LeadingAge California recently announced that it has been awarded more than $25 million dollars by the California Health and Human Services (CalHHS) Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) for The Gateway-In Project to expand on certified nurse assistant (CNA) and home health aide (HHA) pipeline development, training and retention programs over the next three years.

By providing training, wrap-around supports and incentives for career development for those entering or already in the field, the program will make significant headway in turning the tides on the ongoing workforce shortage crisis pervading the health care workforce that supports older adults across the state.

California has the largest number of older adults in the country, and it is projected an additional 275,000 direct care workers will be needed by 2026 to meet the growing population. CNAs and HHAs are a critical part of this workforce. In California, over 50% of CNAs work in nursing care facilities or community care facilities serving older adults. CNAs and HHAs play an essential role in these facilities and in home and community-based settings, often serving as the principal caregivers and having the most personal contact with residents than any other staff member or family member.

“The importance of The Gateway-In Project cannot be understated,” said Jeannee Parker Martin, president and CEO of LeadingAge California. “Older-adult care facilities and home and community-based settings are facing severe workforce shortages. The Gateway-In Project will begin to change that story by cultivating the next generation of CNAs and HHAs as well as supporting those already in the field.”

Existing pipeline development and training programs are inadequate to fill the growing demand for CNAs and HHAs. Currently, there is a dramatic workforce shortage in health care settings, particularly in skilled nursing facilities, residential care facilities for the elderly, Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), adult day health centers, home health, hospice (at home and hospice inpatient facilities), and other settings using CNAs and HHAs.

To meet this need, The Gateway-In Project is expected to add 2,700 new CNAs/HHAs. The Gateway-In Project will provide training and certification at no cost to students, with additional incentives for retention at one, six and 12-month periods and to take career development pathways such as empathy and climate disaster modules, and stipends for transportation, food support, childcare and English as a second language training.

Program graduates will help mitigate the severe workforce crisis in the next three years; some will become dually certified as CNAs and HHAs, and others will advance to Licensed Practical Nurse and Registered Nurse training programs. The three-year project launched on June 15, 2022.

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