Homeland’s Tracey Jennings brings out the ‘human’ in HR


Tracey JenningsTracey Jennings, Homeland Center’s assistant director of human resources, says she’s always been a people person.

“I like people, whether they’re young or old,” says Tracey, who worked with prekindergarten program Head Start for three years before coming to Homeland. “I get along with everybody.”

Tracey came to Homeland in 2013 after talking to Homeland HR Director Nicol Crosson Brown, who Tracey first met when she was starting her human resources career at a Harrisburg-area retirement community.

“It gives me a great feeling to be helpful,” says Tracey, who started as HR assistant and became assistant director in 2016.

Tracey’s role is crucial to Homeland’s sustaining its CMS Five-Star Skilled Nursing Care Facility rating, Medicare’s highest citation for excellence. Her job is even more challenging given the organization’s growth with the development of Homeland Hospice, Homeland HomeHealth, and Homeland HomeCare, providing a full spectrum of care in residential and home settings.

It’s Tracey’s job to make sure all files are thorough and up to date when Medicare inspectors arrive. They’re looking for careful management of employee background checks, licensing, and immunizations.

“When I came in, it was already a five-star facility, which was great,” she says. “I try to hold up my end of the bargain, every year, so there are no deficiencies, and we haven’t had any at all.”

Under Nicol Crosson Brown, the Homeland HR department has developed an unusual approach to employee well-being. While it’s the typical HR office where employees submit leave requests and various types of disciplines are issued, it’s also a comfortable place where they’ll find a listening ear.

Tracey says the approach allows staff to leave the outside world behind and focus on their work, ready to provide for anything that residents need. It also contributes to longevity and low turnover among staff who see HR as a trusted resource and partner.

Outside of Homeland, Tracey’s life revolves around family and church. She is Harrisburg born and raised, attending the historic Wesley Union AME Zion Church since age 13. Today, she is the Director of Children, developing opportunities that introduce children to the value of Christian living, the value of service such as helping to feed the homeless, preparing care packages and chemo kits for children in the hospital, collecting items for children in the shelters and foster care, among many other activities.

Tracey has two daughters, ages 16 and 15, and one son, 13. Her eldest daughter plays basketball at Harrisburg High School, and her son plays football and basketball. Her middle daughter, Tyanna, is a familiar face at Homeland as a devoted volunteer. She sits with residents, helps with crafts activities, and lends a helping hand wherever it’s needed, such as bagging candy for residents to distribute to visiting children during Homeland’s annual Halloween party. The experience will be valuable as Tyanna is considering a career in nursing, says Tracey.

When mother and daughter attended Homeland’s 2018 volunteer recognition dinner, Tyanna thought she was merely there to help, but Tracey knew a secret. Four special awards were announced, and Tyanna heard her name.

“She was shocked,” says the proud mom.

Being a part of Homeland’s 151-year tradition of excellence is important to Tracey.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.’’