We seem to be suffering an abundance of shortages these days. Aside from stubbornness and rage, we seem to be in short supply of just about everything.

The Red Cross says it’s short on blood (and most all of us can help with that).

Realtors continue to bemoan the shortage of available homes on the local market.

Automakers are short on the computer chips that now dictate everything a car does, so we’re short on cars to buy, which means we’re short on parts for repairs because more of us are having our vehicles fixed instead of trading them in — which has also led to a shortage of used vehicles and spiking prices for everything “car.”

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you may have noticed shortages of some staples: chicken, toilet paper, produce, bread, cereal. Most of these are due to the pandemic-fueled global supply-chain disruptions that are threatening everything from Christmas toys and electronics to building materials and fertilizer.

But lately, what we’ve been hearing about most is the worker shortage. Largely, this news has focused on a dynamic caused by changes in how workers view their value. During the pandemic, many workers, forced to work remotely or not at all, got a new look at what their work-life balance could be, and decided, moving forward, they won’t settle for low-paying, stressful or demeaning jobs.

That’s left a lot of employers scrambling to fill gaps in retail, food service and other sectors that have typically relied on part-time and low-wage workers.

But there are worker shortages that predate the pandemic and which have caused struggles to fill positions for years, at least in this region.Two of them have seen optimistic news recently, but neither is likely to be solved any time soon.

As reported last week by Sentinel staff writer Caleb Symons, a new initiative to offer training and other professional development opportunities for child-care workers in the Monadnock Region is slated to receive $1 million in funding under the new federal spending bill.

That funding will improve worker retention in the child-care industry and expand local care options, according to local child-care program managers. Led by Keene State College and the Monadnock United Way, the proposal would aim to boost the number of providers by hosting courses for new and current child-care workers, Symons reported.

That’s key for two reasons. First, there’s a shortage (that word again) of child-care options in the region that is keeping parents from being able to work, thus causing other worker shortages and suppressing incomes in the region. Second, many of those who do apply for child-care positions aren’t properly trained, according to Suelaine Poling, executive director of the Keene Day Care Center; they just like kids and want to work in the field. Better education and training would also enable those workers to turn that work into a career, rather than just a temporary job.

But the training funds won’t solve the problem entirely. Child-care workers in New Hampshire earn between $23,000 and $25,000 a year, on average, for what is a demanding job with real responsibilities.

Speaking of such jobs, the Monadnock Region, like many other areas, has also had an ongoing nursing shortage for years. A recent report from the Granite State News Collaborative (of which The Sentinel is a member) found the situation so dire that some of the state’s hospitals and long-term care facilities are paying up to $200 an hour for traveling nurses — those who take on short-term roles through staffing firms at facilities suffering from staffing issues. Prior to the pandemic, such positions commanded up to $125 an hour. But the workload, stress and conditions (which includes being berated and even assaulted by patients) during the past year and a half have driven some nurses away from the field, widening staffing gaps.

Again, there was good news recently in this respect. The Sentinel’s Jack Rooney reported last month that New Hampshire Jobs for America’s Graduates, a Concord-based nonprofit, is expanding its licensed nursing assistants program to Keene. NH-JAG is working with River Valley Community College to offer the LNA training to students who couldn’t otherwise get that education.

The major caveats: The program aims to start with just two students, who will take about two months to complete the program. Becoming a registered nurse requires much more. So the need for nurses will likely continue.

Still, it’s movement in the right direction.

Now if we can just get some cars in stock.

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