GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (WBAY) – While the pandemic has taught us a lot about the capabilities of our healthcare system, it has also revealed a critical need for more caregivers and nurses specially trained to work with older people.

If you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you have seen first-hand the hard work of caregivers, CNAs and other staff.

It is often thankless, low-paid work that takes a big-hearted person to feed, wash, groom and love our elderly population.

But as people tend to live longer, it’s getting harder and harder to find employees who want – and know how – to work with older people.

“Due to the rapid growth of the elderly population, we find ourselves facing a labor shortage in almost all areas of health care,” says Kerry Winkler, UW-Green Bay Program Specialist in the Division. continuing education and community involvement. . “By the year 2030, approximately 31 million Americans will be over 65, which is the largest population in American history.”

It’s such a concern that local employers are reaching out to UW-Green Bay for help.

“By simply talking to different health facilities, each facility indicated that it would (a) be beneficial to have specialized knowledge in geriatrics,” says Winkler.

In response, the college creates a new Geriatric Health Certificate Program.

Winkler says there will be two classes in the fall, two in the spring and one in the summer.

They are offered online and specifically intended for geriatric care.

“There are a lot of different things that go with elderly care that you don’t necessarily think about, so it will definitely give you the skills and the tools to be able to do it,” she says.

Winkler says the program aims to enhance a degree a person already has in nursing or other health care, giving them more job opportunities or the ability to advance their career.

And that may just help with one of the biggest hurdles in this industry – salary.

the The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the salary of nursing assistants ranges from less than $ 11 an hour to $ 20 an hour.

“Because of the high demand for this, employers are going to want to attract, and one of the ways to attract is to offer this salary incentive if they have that experience,” says Winkler.

She says the convenience of the program, along with its flexibility – allowing people to balance classes with work or family – as well as the cost of the UWGB program relative to others, make it more appealing.

“I know the CNAs and the caregivers … their pay isn’t always up to par, so being able to offer it for a better price, I think, catches people’s attention,” Winkler adds.

To learn more about the program or to register, click here. Classes start in the fall.

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