It’s the economy, stupid.
Those are the words that helped Bill Clinton run a disciplined campaign—and propelled him to the presidency. What’s the connection to senior living? We need a similar level of discipline in our race for public notice and a positive policy environment.
Let me explain.
The senior living industry is incredibly large and diverse. We employ more people than carmakers. We’re almost as big as the pharmaceutical industry. If it’s the economy, stupid, then we should be lauded by every governor, and economic development agencies should be hunting us down to offer us incentives to open or expand a new community.
While results may vary, usually it takes a lot more work to get that kind of positive attention. And Argentum has developed a tool that can help raise awareness. Senior Living Impact, Argentum’s latest web resource, lays out the impact of our industry nationally and in every state. At your fingertips is precise data on our economic impact, the employment we represent, our contribution to government revenue, and our “social responsibility” impact, including volunteer time and charitable contributions. There you will find, for example, that we account for nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars annually to our nation’s economy.
Why am I bringing this up in a blog about the senior living workforce? Because when it comes to solving our workforce challenges, we can no longer do it alone, if we ever could. Our success depends on the right policies and the right partners.
Policies include legislation supporting skilled workers and career and technical education. They also include a reasonable regulatory environment. When policymakers recognize senior living as a major economic driver, that can help unlock dollars to support our worker training and development, not to mention economic development dollars.
Partners include education providers, from career and technical education at the high school level to community colleges and universities. Many of us have solid partnerships, but no matter how strong our relationship is, they want to ensure their students have the best chance to enter and succeed in growing, lucrative careers. So the more we can point to our economic strength, our vitality, and our importance in our states and regions, the more we can push for the right education programs tied to the jobs we have in high demand.
That’s why we created Senior Living Impact, and that’s why we are optimistic that our clout in state capitals and the federal government will continue to grow.