Community Helpers: A note from Bill Mason
By Bill Mason
The Mason Center for Healthcare Education is a non-profit education center that offers certification programs for individuals who want to pursue careers in the senior care industry, including skilled nursing, assisted living and long-term care fields.
I started working with the center’s partner, Hillcrest Healthcare, as a lawyer for a small project many years ago and was asked to join the board once the project was completed. I joined in 2005 and served 16 years until December 2021. Over those years, I was able to collaborate with capable, interesting people, including the late state Sen. Ben Atchley, employees at Home Federal Bank and KUB and others.
Through the years, my wife, Janet, and I have prioritized using our time and resources to benefit our community in three areas: senior care, parks and greenways and education.
Imagine my surprise when I retired from the Hillcrest board in 2021, and the board informed me that there would be an education center named for our family’s work in senior care and education!
Now, that center is coming to life as The Mason Center for Healthcare Education. Janet and I are so humbled by this great honor, and we have a strong desire to see it succeed as a place to benefit all.
With so many people working hard behind the scenes to get this project off the ground, we are excited for this to become a reality and we appreciate everyone’s ideas and effort.
Healthcare offers good jobs, and people often do not understand the opportunities in senior care due to simply never being introduced to the industry. Healthcare providers are in short supply, and with the aging population, those shortages will reach a crisis level if we do not start training providers now.
The Mason Center strives to reach high school students and adults who aren’t familiar with healthcare and who have never considered it as a career. We also want to reach people already in senior care or healthcare who want to expand their education and skills to build their career.
Place that benefits all
When I say that my desire for The Mason Center is to become a place that benefits all, it is not a sweeping generalization. Janet and I want service to remain the foundation with benefits to long-term care residents, healthcare employees and the community built from that foundation.
Residents: We hope that that residents of long-term care centers receive the proper standard of care and that caregivers are following best practices. New or continued education can help renew employees and give them more skills to serve the needs of seniors in their care.
Employees: The Mason Center strives to provide employees in the senior care industry educational opportunities and certifications pertinent to their fields to open doors for career enhancement, including promotion and better pay. I want them to move up and have better paying jobs, and I also hope we can start to reach those who have never been introduced to healthcare or considered it as an option for a career – there’s a great opportunity there.
Community: If The Mason Center can increase the number of qualified caregivers in our community and provide rewarding, stable jobs that pay well, the entire community benefits. Again, if we can provide folks who are not connected to healthcare with exposure to opportunities, we open new doors for a brighter future. A community with good healthcare services is usually a community that thrives.
Looking ahead, Janet and I want The Mason Center to be a place of learning where different levels of classes are simultaneously in session – from introducing people to healthcare basics and every step beyond as students build new skills and expand their knowledge to grow in the senior care industry.
We want to train them to better their lives as they serve others. A life of service has been so rewarding for Janet and me.
If you’re curious about healthcare or ready to expand your skills within the healthcare realm, I hope you will consider The Mason Center’s state and nationally recognized certification programs. The team is committed to minimizing the burden of student debt in order to provide career opportunities for students and qualified employees for senior care and healthcare providers.
Bill Mason is an attorney and has been with the firm Kennerly Montgomery since 2009. Janet is retired from careers in radio and real estate as an owner of Talahi Partners. In addition to the Mason Center, they are involved with Legacy Parks Foundation, United Way of Greater Knoxville and Christenberry Elementary School. They are the parents of three adult children and have five grandchildren. Bill and Janet love watching movies, visiting the beach, spending half their time at their cottage on Norris Lake and hiking and walking – whether in a park or city, on a mountain or through sand dunes.