Pathway to the Future: How Workforce Development and Quality Jobs Can Promote Quality Care Conference Package. Recommendations

05/01/2004

HHS and DOL identified a comprehensive set of recommendations to address potential imbalances between the future demand for and supply of direct care workers in long-term care settings. The recommendations are geared to address key issues relating to:

  • Finding new sources of workers;
  • The initial and continuing education of workers;
  • Compensation, benefits, and career advancement; and
  • Working conditions and job satisfaction.

The recommendations include:

National Dialogue With Employers: Engage employers and employees as well as medical professionals and state and local government, in a dialogue on issues relating to improved pay, benefits, career ladders, and working conditions in long-term care.

Outreach to Faith and Community-Based Organizations: Explore with faith and community-based organizations their potential roles in addressing shortages in labor imbalances through strengthening relationships with the workforce investment system, and in recruiting volunteers for respite care for family members, "back-up" services, and home-based support.

Enhanced Use of Technology: Explore use of new technology in recruitment, education and training, recordkeeping and patient care. Expand and work with industry to market CareCareers.net.

State and Local Initiatives: Encourage and support state and local efforts, involving both the private and public sectors to explore use of business partnerships with individual employers or consortiums of employers, training providers and public agencies.

Enhanced Training and Education: Support multiple initiatives including implementation of the newly passed Nurse Reinvestment Act, expanding efforts to leverage private sector funds similar to DOL's Partnerships for Jobs, encouraging states to expand training slots for nurses and paraprofessionals, promoting registered apprenticeship training programs to paraprofessional occupations, and others.

New Sources for Workers: Seek ways to broaden the supply of frontline long-term care workers by reaching out to older workers, former Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients, military personnel transitioning to civilian life, individuals with recent experience providing care to family members, dislocated workers from other industries and young people.

Support for Informal Caregivers: Continue efforts to support informal caregivers, such as through tax incentives and grants to state and local organizations (e.g., the Administration on Aging's (AoA) National Family Caregiver Support Program), provide information and referral resources, and explore the effectiveness of respite care demonstrations.

Regulatory Changes: Explore areas for potential federal and state regulatory changes, which could include enhanced information sharing and policy coordination among states, and possible federal requirements on patient recordkeeping.

Worker Safety: Continue to support worker safety education and outreach to employers, such as through DOL's National Emphasis Program, and through enhanced safety training within schools of nursing and within the paraprofessional training curriculum.

Research Efforts: Continue to support research and evaluation activities on such subjects as wages, benefits, worker characteristics, and workplace cultures.

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