Sen. Smith Promotes Bipartisan Idea To Keep Public Health And Social Service Workers Incentivized To Stay
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Tina Smith is teaming up with another Democrat and two Republicans to push legislation that would encourage more people to stay in the public health industry.
The lawmakers say that more people are leaving certain sectors of the field, causing a shortage of much-needed employees.
The director of the CDC says America is short about 80,000 public health workers right now.
Senator Smith and other legislators are proposing college loan forgiveness for those who would stay in their public health jobs for a couple of years, such as social workers.
She said that more workers in social services, health care, and public health departments on city and county levels have been retiring early or changing fields.
Smith added that the fact that these jobs can pay lower, on top of the burnout potential, is why many don’t want to go into the field.
“Maybe they’re held back because a lot of times those jobs don’t pay as well as other jobs that they can get, so this would be a big incentive for them to sign up, and as long as they agree to work for at least two years then they could get up to $35,000 per year of service forgiven,” Smith said. “That would be incredibly helpful.
The incentive isn’t just for new college graduates.
If the proposal passes as a bill in Congress and signed into law by the president, those who have already been working in the field of public health can have their education loans forgiven the same way.