|OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahomans looking to jumpstart a career in long-term care can receive help finding a job and getting their training paid for through Care Careers Oklahoma, a new employment program. Care Careers helps applicants find job openings at skilled nursing facilities near them and reimburses the cost of Certified Nursing Aide (CNA) and Certified Medication Aide (CMA) training. Potential applicants are urged to learn more and apply at CareCareersOK.com.
Program Ambassador Tanecia Davis, who oversees Care Careers, said that she views her role as helping to put other Oklahomans on a career path for advancement and stable employment for many years.
“We aren’t just helping people find ‘a job,’” said Davis. “We are helping Oklahomans develop new and marketable skills while they work and earn a living. The on-the-job training they receive is setting the stage for a lengthy and rewarding career. Working in long-term care means knowing that you are using your skillset and training to make a real and positive difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”
Care Careers Oklahoma is a project of Care Providers Oklahoma and LeadingAge Oklahoma, associations representing the interests of the residents, staff and ownership of Oklahoma’s long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living homes and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Care Careers is funded through money made available by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). In 2022, the State Legislature appropriated $4.5 million in ARPA money to Care Providers for “the purpose of recruiting, educating, and stabilizing Oklahoma’s health care workforce.” Using those dollars, Care Providers Oklahoma and Leading Age launched Care Careers, which also receives oversight from the Oklahoma Health Care Workforce Training Commission.
Care Providers Oklahoma President Steven Buck said the Legislature acted wisely by investing in workforce development.
“Our profession is facing a real crisis, and that is a lack of qualified long-term care personnel here in Oklahoma,” said Buck. “That crisis has already forced multiple facilities to close. It is also directly related to the quality and consistency of care that our residents receive. My thanks go out to our lawmakers, particularly the authors of our appropriation, Sen. John Haste and Rep. Kyle Hilbert, for recognizing the severity of this challenge and taking steps to address it.”
LeadingAge Oklahoma Director of Member Services Leanna Vasquez said she was grateful for the opportunity to help address Oklahoma’s health care workforce shortage.
“We see the significant workforce needs in the long-term care facilities across Oklahoma and we want to do all we can to help provide a better quality of care to its residents through this program,” said Vasquez.