March 25, 2019
On Tuesday, March 12 Garden Spot Communities CEO Steve Lindsey testified before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Health Committee at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.
On Tuesday, March 12 Garden Spot Communities CEO Steve Lindsey testified before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Health Committee at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. Invited by LeadingAge PA, Lindsey addressed the growing shortage of workers in the health care industry and offered realistic solutions for lawmakers to consider.
Lindsey says, “We didn’t want our conversation to simply be an airing of woes. We wanted the testimony to offer realistic opportunities for lawmakers to consider. In our current environment we need to be looking for solutions and be willing to try new ideas.”
In his testimony, Lindsey recommended lawmakers consider finding a way to employ an “untapped workforce,” people living in chronic poverty. A barrier to employment for this untapped workforce is the “benefits cliff”–a risk many people face as they consider a move from public assistance to full time employment. Entry level employees risk the loss of subsidized housing, free healthcare, subsidized child care and more, says Lindsey.
“We have an opportunity for innovation; to approach the challenge by asking ‘How do we create prosperity?’ rather than ‘How do we eradicate poverty?’ My testimony encouraged the development of a public/private partnership that would provide individuals entering into entry level positions in the healthcare field to have a path to financial dependence.”
Lindsey’s recommendations included a gradual step down program where people could gradually move from public assistance benefits as their wages grow. He also recommended a six month extended benefit program that would allow people who start to work the chance to work through the challenges of a new job without the fear of losing their benefits and their job.
Other recommendations included a Career Pathways that could help people move from entry level to other skilled positions, mandatory poverty awareness for employers, classes to help employees gain the tools they need to succeed in the workplace, success coaches and employer sponsored loan programs to help people avoid “pay day lenders.”
David H. Zimmerman, PA State Representative for District 99, represents New Holland and also serves on the House Health Committee. Zimmerman was present for the testimony.
The full testimony, as entered into public record, appears here: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/TR/Transcripts/2019_0032_0007_TSTMNY.pdf