Pritzker announces measures to address workforce shortage in state’s social service, healthcare agencies

Illinois will launch a new effort to recruit and retain staff at state agencies that provide essential health and safety services, Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday.

Under the plan, the Department of Central Management Services will develop and implement a statewide recruiting campaign focused on direct care staff at the state’s mental health centers, veterans’ homes, correctional facilities and homes for those with developmental disabilities.

The department will implement retention measures targeting employees at facilities that are open 24/7 and work with sister agencies to leverage existing community and workforce partners to fill such positions.

The proposal comes as staffing shortages continue to affect healthcare and other industries, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pritzker said.

“No matter the challenges of today’s job market, our administration is mobilizing every available resource to make sure every resident has access to the critical services they need and deserve,” he said in a statement.

AFSCME Council 31, which represents public service workers, said nearly 7,000 positions in state government were vacant at the start of 2022. Roberta Lynch, the union’s executive director, welcomed Pritzker’s plan.

“The Pritzker administration is moving forward to reduce the bureaucratic delays in the state hiring process that have been so frustrating to so many, and to redouble its efforts to recruit needed new hires,” she said. “In the days ahead, our union will do everything possible to advance these efforts.”

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