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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe Schomacker (R)

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hello from St. Paul,

On October 15, I was pleased to have the opportunity to chair the Minnesota Legislative Health Care Workforce Commission as it heard testimony about the care center workforce shortage across the state.

I had asked Pat Thomas with Adult Basic Education in Marshall to join us to share her expertise. This is an organization known nationally for its training and efforts towards getting students and minority populations involved in introductory health care jobs, such as certified nursing assistants (CNA's).

The commission was able to learn how the Adult Basic Education program is delivering for the health care workforce, and it also discovered how it has found areas within our current laws that could be strengthened in order to make our health care system more efficient for CNA training aid for nursing homes.

What I learned from her testimony is that if Minnesota does a better job of utilizing laws and organizations that are already in place, these groups could make a better training impact within their local communities than if the state spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a brand new, but unproven program. In many cases, the suggestions Adult Basic Education and other organizations have minimal costs but could have great impact because these are local leaders that understand the needs of their local population, workforce, and the people they will ultimately serve.

In two months, the Minnesota Legislative Health Care Workforce Commission will compile a recommendation brief for the full Legislature that outlines different policy areas that can assist with our health care workforce needs. With that in mind, I plan to push our group to continue its focus on our current programs by increasing their promotion and making them more accessible because they are working in our region and beyond.

As we've proven time and time again at the state level, throwing new money at a problem won't make it disappear. If we can continue to prioritize and improve the health care workforce initiatives that are already thriving, it will make a tremendous difference to those working in the field, and ultimately, to the people they serve.

Have a great weekend,