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May 2019


The final cohort to complete the Health Support Specialist (HSS) Registered Apprenticeship Program started their journey in 2019 and the program ended in August 2019.


As a part of LeadingAge Minnesota’s commitment to ensure the highest quality and most relevant services, they contracted with the Applied Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Stout to conduct an in-depth evaluation of HSS. You can review the evaluation findings for detailed information.


In summary, while HSS was a deeply valued and transformational experience for many, it did not see broad-based adoption within the aging services provider community at the scale needed to sustain the program. In addition to challenges of the program model noted in the evaluation, the workforce crisis facing caregivers and organizations offered an even more dire operating environment than when the program was launched. These findings all drive towards a need for more flexible and accessible education, shorter training timelines and clearer alignment of curriculum with evolving training needs.


A FAQ document was developed around the program closure for site executives, program coordinators, and HSS. A statewide series of regional Hubs in April 2019 and a statewide Learning Lab in August 2019 provided an opportunity to talk directly as a learning community about the lessons from the HSS experiment – as well as to celebrate the remarkable work of pioneering organizations and the truly dedicated caregivers that were successful and are transforming and enhancing the experience of aging.


In 2019, thirteen years after the LeadingAge Minnesota Board first established a vision for the program and chartered a Workforce Solutions Committee to develop it, HSS ended with the same spirit of optimism it started – a diverse community of partners from around the state, working together to apply our knowledge into training that transformed and enhanced the experience of aging. As the program wound down, Association staff immediately set to work unbundling the HSS curriculum and research findings to explore what could live on in new, more effective opportunities. Learn more details about what lies ahead on the LeadingAge Minnesota website.


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