Perry Lutheran Homes is developing people and advancing careers through StepUp Career Advancement Program

Submitted by Perry Lutheran Homes
From left, DMACC Director Eddie Diaz with Perry Lutheran Homes LPN, Araceli Chacon and Marketing Director, Mollie Clark. Araceli Chacon is one of the first Perry Lutheran Homes employees to take advantage of the StepUp Career Advancement Program working to achieve her Registered Nurse (RN) degree.

PERRY – The direct care workforce is expected to add 1.3 million more new jobs from 2018 to 2028; over 63,000 of those will be needed right here in Iowa (PHI, 2020). Yet, across the state, long-term care communities struggle to fill open positions.

Perry’s largest health care employer, Perry Lutheran Homes, aims to change the future of long-term care in Perry and surrounding communities. One of those changes includes building their own stable, direct care workforce of highly trained, qualified and committed nurses, nurse aides and other long-term care staff. The goal is to ensure that every older adult in need of care is able to receive the best care possible.

“There’s a huge difference between providing basic care and providing personalized, high quality care. We don’t want employees to be here for just a paycheck. We look to hire and develop employees that desire to fully engage in what they are doing, and have a genuine passion for providing the best care possible,” said Melissa Gannon, COO and Administrator at Perry Lutheran Homes. “In addition education and experience are also important. If the passion and dedication is there, then we’ll support our team members in additional education and training.”

To build a highly trained and dedicated workforce is no simple feat. Because of this, Perry Lutheran Homes has implemented a multi-pronged strategy to train and develop staff, offer career advancement pathways that include higher education, provide competitive pay and benefits and to reward excellent performance and attitudes.

In early February, Perry Lutheran Homes launched their StepUp Career Advancement Program. This is a pathway for employees of Perry Lutheran Homes working in any career field to earn certifications and degrees through promotion, higher education and tuition reimbursement. In return, employees commit to work a certain amount of agreed upon time. A partnership with Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) has been established to be the educational institution of choice for the career advancement program.

“Tuition reimbursement programs are a costly commitment for employers; even more so for not-for-profit organizations like Perry Lutheran Homes. This program speaks volumes about their efforts to invest in their employees, and we at DMACC are proud to partner with Perry Lutheran Homes in growing and developing local community members into health care leaders of today and tomorrow. Perry Lutheran Homes Career Advancement Program is a huge benefit for employees to have their schooling paid for as well as to have job security once schooling is complete,” said Eddie Diaz, Director of DMACC Perry.

Perry Lutheran Homes offers a wide variety of careers in addition to nursing such as culinary, activities, transportation, housekeeping, business, marketing, social work, maintenance, technology and more. Any person that works for Perry Lutheran Homes at least six months demonstrating the right qualities and meeting the qualifying criteria has the opportunity to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) through the StepUp Career Advancement Program. Employees can then progress to a Certified Medication Aide (CMA), a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN). From there, additional advancement opportunities could include assistant director of nursing, director of nursing, nurse manager, administration and more.

“As a former Perry Lutheran Homes board member, and currently on the executive committee for Perry Economic Development, I know how incredibly important it is to our community to have the best long-term care organizations – including the highest quality workforce. All of this works together to strengthen our community, to provide a large number of high paying jobs, and to ensure that all older adults will be well cared for when their need arises,” said Deb Lucht, Member of Perry Economic Development Executive Committee and CEO of Minburn Communications.

To inquire about open positions at Perry Lutheran Homes, and to start or continue your journey of career advancement, visit their website at: https://perrylutheranhomes.org/careers/