Amy York has been appointed executive director of the Eldercare Workforce Alliance, an advocacy organization for geriatric care.
York, 46, joined the organization in March after working at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, where she lobbied for the organization on issues such as Medicaid, Medicare and caregiving. Throughout her career, she has advocated for labor and health organizations, including two national unions.
Demand for personal care and home-health aides is expected to increase 49% by 2022, according to the Alliance. It's crucial that the proper infrastructure be created so that those serving the elderly have more attractive pay and career prospects, York said.
“I think that the biggest priority and challenge is that we really need to educate the public and policymakers on the need for workforce training and a trained workforce moving forward as the baby boomers age,” York said. “It presents a lot of challenges, mainly setting up a structure that can handle training them.”
Home-care workers, who often care for elderly patients, have recently joined with fast food, retail and other workers to call for a $15 wage. York said the alliance, composed of providers, unions and direct-care groups, believes higher wages are necessary to fufill the demand for workers.
“We definitely support higher wages; we haven't put a dollar amount on that,” York said. “We haven't taken a specific position on the (Fight for $15 movement), but in order to lift this workforce up into something that people want to go into, you need to pay higher wages.”