Workforce Crisis Significantly Affects Virginia’s Seniors
CLIENT: LeadingAge Virginia
STRATEGY: To generate awareness of the workforce needs of Virginia’s aging services and highlight the commitment of the client in reducing the impact of the 15-year labor low in the field. To place at least one op-ed regarding this topic in Virginia print media outlets with a high readership.
OUTCOMES: Secured two placements in Virginia newspapers, The Richmond Times Dispatch and The Roanoke Times. The Richmond Times Dispatch received 86,219 impressions and The Roanoke Times received 45,390, equaling over 131,000 total impressions. We also increased engagement on the client’s social media platforms, generated by positive feedback from two Facebook posts.
When LeadingAge Virginia, an association of not-for-profit aging services providers, came to us, looking to bring awareness to the aging services workforce crisis, we knew it would be a challenge. For years, the aging services industry has faced significant struggles in attracting and retaining skilled workers, culminating in a 15-year labor low. When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, it only exacerbated existing problems and led to the loss of 400,000 jobs between 2020 and 2022 alone. Not to mention, this is all compounded by the fact that the older adult population is projected to increase, potentially by more than 50% in the coming years. If there was a time for aging services to massively expand its workforce, it was now.
To spread awareness of these issues, we approached LeadingAge Virginia with the idea of writing an op-ed- one that placed a spotlight on the current struggles in aging services and proposed solutions. In collaboration with Melissa Andrews, President and CEO of LeadingAge Virginia, we drafted a column that highlighted the various problems faced by the aging services industry and solidified LeadingAge’s commitment to resolving these problems. Melissa’s column, “We must act now to provide care and support to aging Virginians,” was submitted to multiple print media outlets statewide, and we hoped to secure coverage in at least one publication.
Remarkably, Melissa’s op-ed was published in not one, but two, newspapers, The Richmond Times Dispatch and The Roanoke Times. In The Richmond Times Dispatch, Melissa’s op-ed received 86,219 impressions and, in The Roanoke Times, it received 45,390 impressions, totaling over 131,000 impressions. Not only did we help LeadingAge Virginia to spread awareness of the challenges facing aging services, but, together, we created buzz around the name of LeadingAge itself, leading to increased engagement on social platforms following two Facebook posts about her column.
Melissa’s op-ed was an important first step in exposing the public to the realities of the workforce crisis in aging services and is a testament to the power of earned media relations in generating awareness and rallying people around a cause.
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