A Career That’s Much More Than Just A Job
Oct. 28, 2022
By Danielle Andersen
They raised us – now it’s time we gave back
In fewer than ten years from today, the entire "baby boom" generation will have reached 65 years of age, accounting for around 73 million people nationwide.
Born during an era of postwar optimism between 1946 and 1964, this groundbreaking cohort has changed the world in innumerable ways, from art and music to technology and health care. However, as they’re reaching retirement, there has been a worrying workforce shortage in the aging services sector.
Face Aging MN, a statewide initiative aimed at raising awareness around issues impacting a rapidly aging community, has estimated there are 1 million Minnesotans with increasing care needs. As it stands today, there are not enough workers to support these aging adults.
For those looking for meaningful work, aging services offers a wide range of opportunities and benefits. At Knute Nelson, which has been a longtime leader in aging services in central Minnesota, many team members have found careers with exciting futures and countless ways to grow.
A culture of caring and compassion
Taking care of aging adults is a Minnesota value, which has been at the heart of Knute Nelson’s mission for more than 70 years. In April 1948 — two years after the birth of the first “boomer”— the home of the former Minnesota governor and senator was turned into an aging care facility bearing his name. His vision was to make sure aging adults in Minnesota would be supported.
With an unprecedented number of aging adults now reaching retirement, this work has become even more important than before. Many areas of the state will have populations where more than 35% of residents are over the age of 65 by 2030. Leaders in the field like Knute Nelson are working hard to address the critical staffing shortages and become forces of positive change.
Those working in the sector already have discovered the value of giving back and a career with rewards beyond a paycheck. Now, they seek to inspire others in exploring the recruitment possibilities.
“I chose to work at Knute Nelson firstly for the culture and values,” said Shannon Ruether, a registered nurse who has been recognized for her excellence in service. “If you walk into any of the Knute facilities you can feel the compassion and caring of everybody working there. I love being a part of that culture.”
‘Working here is not like a job’
In the wake of the Great Resignation, a trend which has been growing slowly over the past decade, people have been leaving jobs and reconsidering what rewarding work means to them. When looking at the options, providing care in aging services checks many of those boxes. For some, the sector offers more of the flexibility and work-life balance they’re looking for. For others, it provides a sense of giving back and doing more for the community.
With a surprising number of avenues to explore, the aging services sector has a wide array of opportunities, ranging from nursing to dining. It appeals to job seekers like new graduates looking to gain work experience, as well as people who have been out in the workforce for some time and want a change.
Currently working as an LPN at Knute Nelson’s Grand Arbor location, Ryan Massmann started at the age of 15 as a dishwasher and has continued to advance to reach his career goals. “I’m beyond grateful that I’ve been able to grow within this company, and discover what I love to do, which is providing care for the elderly.” Knute Nelson provides scholarship opportunities to their employees to help them achieve their long-term career goals. In 2021, they provided $202,397 in scholarships to their employees.
To support Minnesota’s aging adults Knute Nelson will continue to strive for excellence in its continuum of care. They remain hopeful that new recruits will join their mission to provide the quality care older adults deserve.
To explore the many job opportunities in aging services, visit the careers page at knutenelson.org.