Today's letters: Readers comment on sports writing, Sloan, AAPI Heritage Month and CNAs

·5 min read

Sports writing home run

I am the great grandmother of Andrew Clymer who hit a home run during a recent winning game. Whoever wrote the article on his team did an awesome job. Showcasing so many players on the team raised their spirits to a new level. I have seen and read many articles during my 82 years, and this was the best written by far. Congratulations to the sports writer.

Harriet Clymer, Leesburg

Goodbye Russ Sloan

We are very sorry to read that Russ Sloan no longer will be published in the Daily Commercial. His columns have been a highlight of our Sunday papers and calmly reflected summaries of facts and reason. We appreciated his excellent contributions over the past 14 years; he will be sorely missed.

Autumn and Russ Lewis, Leesburg

Asian American and Pacific islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. It is a celebration and acknowledgment of the history, traditions and culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders that continues to impact American society positively.

AAPI Heritage commemoration was proposed in 1977 as a week-long observance of the accomplishments and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States in May 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 1869 due to the assistance of countless Chinese laborers. This observance was extended to the entire month of May in 1992 by President Bush.

The Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) chose “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration” as their theme for May 2022. This theme is a continuance of FAPAC’s 2021-24 “Advancing Leaders” series intended to empower leaders in the community and inspire innovation creating a brighter future for people of all ethnicities.

The Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) recognizes the increase in hate crimes, especially those directed toward the Asian community. All Americans, regardless of race, deserve to be treated kindly and equally. As the executive director of the FCHR, I urge the residents of Florida who feel they have been discriminated against in the workplace, public accommodations or housing to contact our agency. Our agency’s vision is to eliminate discrimination in the state, and contacting our agency is the first step to achieving that goal.

The FCHR can be contacted at 850-488-7082 or by visiting fchr.state.fl.us.

Cheyanne Costilla, Executive Director, Florida Commission on Human Relations

Certified nursing assistants needed

Florida is facing a critical need for certified nursing assistants (CNA) who make a vital impact on quality care and quality of life for the seniors and people with disabilities residing in our state’s skilled nursing centers. Nationwide, nursing centers have lost nearly 238,000 employees — or 15% of our total workforce — since the start of the pandemic. In Florida alone, that accounts for nearly 10,000 jobs lost.

While employment levels of most health care sectors including hospitals, physicians’ offices, outpatient care centers and other health care facilities have nearly rebounded to the pre-COVID levels, the skilled nursing centers are experiencing a substantial workforce shortage. With Florida home to one of the largest elderly populations in the country, it is vital to encourage individuals to make long-term care their chosen career path.

The national demand for CNAs will grow 9% by 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. To address this critical workforce need, the Florida Health Care Association’s Education and Development Foundation and the State of Florida Agency for Health Care Administration have partnered on a grant-funded CaregiversFL Career Program that connects skilled nursing centers with individuals seeking a career in long-term care. The program is designed to raise awareness about the benefits of working in long-term care, including the career ladder opportunities, and increase the pool of applicants through an online hub that benefits both the job seeker and the employer.

Existing CNAs can connect directly with skilled nursing centers that have immediate openings to fill. Individuals who are new to the profession will learn about CNA training programs as well as the opportunity to develop necessary skills and receive on-the-job experience through the Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Training Program made permanent by Florida’s legislature during the 2021 session.

With just a high school diploma or GED, individuals can take the fast path to employment by beginning their journey as a PCA and training under the supervision of a licensed nurse as they prepare to challenge the CNA exam. Since 2020, nearly 3,000 PCAs have taken the CNA exam, 73% of whom have successfully passed and received their CNA license.

Courtney Urban, for example, began work as a PCA at Palm Garden of Tampa. She earned her CNA certification and has since been promoted to Business Office Manager. Urban, who has always had a passion for helping the elderly, has future hopes to one day become a nursing home administrator.

Success stories like these exist in skilled nursing centers across the state, and the CaregiversFL Career Program is making job seekers aware of how easy it is to start work as a CNA and the pathways for growth that this position affords.

Recruiting for Florida’s toughest job is a collaborative effort, and it is critical for the future of our state’s senior care. As COVID-19 has disrupted our long-term care workforce in many ways, we must ensure we strengthen our pipeline of caregivers and work together to raise awareness about long-term care as an opportunity for career growth.

Job seekers can sign up to get hired or learn more at florida.carefortheaging.org/job-seekers.

Skilled nursing centers can sign up to participate in the program at florida.carefortheaging.org/employers.

Anita Faulmann, Regional Director of Operations, Excelsior Care Group and Senior Vice President and Workforce Committee Chair, Florida Health Care Association

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This article originally appeared on Daily Commercial: May 22 letters: Readers comment on sports, Sloan and CNAs