On January 26, 2018, Commonwealth Corporation hosted the event: Facing the Future of Care: Innovations in Recruitment and Retention of Home Care Workers. Held at the Worcester Senior Center, our audience was filled with home care employers, workforce board and career center staff, directors of home care and long term care associations and community college staff.
The event focused on changes in the health care workforce in Massachusetts, particularly the incredible growth in occupations involved with delivering care to individuals in their homes. Paul Harrington, from the Center for Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University, shared our research and projections for the home care workforce, particularly related to personal care aides (PCAs) and home health aides. Strikingly, Paul noted that 1 in 10 new jobs over the next 10 years across the U.S. are projected to be in these home care occupations.
We also convened workforce professionals to share the work they are currently undertaking with employers to try and solve some of the challenges home care workers and employers are facing, including unpredictable schedules, transportation access, and benefit cliff effects.
Rebecca Gutman from 1199SEIU and Lisa Marschke from the Center from Health Policy and Research at Commonwealth Medicine presented on workforce supply and demand trends and recruitment strategies for PCAs to meet the needs of consumers through MassHealth’s PCA program.
Teri Anderson, the Executive Director of the Franklin Hampshire Employment and Training Consortium, shared a home care employer partnership she and the workforce board are convening that is working on strategies to support workers in getting more consistent hours of work and addressing transportation challenges in the region.
Click here to see the presentations from the event.
The presentations were followed by small group discussions and a Q&A for presenters. One of the biggest take-aways was that the traditional ways that employers have addressed workforce shortages in the past are not going to be enough to meet the growing demand for home care services. These challenges call for strong and effective partnerships among employers themselves and between employers, workforce development, education/training institutions and workers. Exploring new approaches to solving these challenges is the only way we will be able to provide the care that some of our most vulnerable neighbors need.
We thank the Worcester Senior Center and the students and staff of Quinsigamond Community College’s culinary arts and hospitality program for providing the space and refreshments for the event.
Facing the Future of Care was part of our event series related to Commonwealth Corporation’s Health Care Workforce Initiatives. Check out https://commcorp.org/events/ for any upcoming events.