The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has awarded a five-year grant totaling over $6 million to establish a national center to expand and strengthen the direct care workforce across the country. This initiative will provide technical assistance to states and service providers and facilitate collaboration with stakeholders to improve recruitment, retention, training, and professional development of the direct care workers who provide the critical services that enable people with disabilities and older adults to live in their own homes and communities.
Long-standing workforce shortages have reached crisis levels during the COVID-19 pandemic; today, more than three-quarters of service providers are not accepting new clients and more than half have cut services as a result of the direct care workforce shortage. The high turnover of staff has also meant that individuals who are able to receive services often experience service disruptions and receive inconsistent care. As a result, increasing numbers of people are left with no option but to move to nursing homes and other institutions, people who want to leave these facilities cannot, and the health and safety of those who live in the community are at risk.
The national Direct Care Workforce Capacity Building Center will serve as a hub, providing tools, resources, and training to assist state systems and service providers and to support the development and coordination of policies and programs that contribute to a stable, robust direct care workforce. The center’s website will share resources from the federal government, highlight state and local model policies and best practices that can be replicated or adapted, and share training and technical assistance materials. In addition, the center will facilitate peer-to-peer sharing of lessons learned and promising practices through learning collaboratives and support collaboration between state systems, including Medicaid, aging, disability, and workforce agencies; service providers; and aging, disability, and labor stakeholders. Additional information is available on the ACL website.