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Direct Care Workforce Initiative

About the Initiative

The Iowa Direct Care Workforce Initiative is a product of a multi-year effort by direct care workers, employers, educators, and consumers through the legislatively established Direct Care Worker Task Force and the Direct Care Worker Advisory Council. The Iowa Direct Care Worker Advisory Council is charged with advising the Iowa Department of Public Health on implementing a system for credentialing direct care professionals.

The following are several of the key recommendations made by the Advisory Council.

  • Develop statewide education standards for direct care professionals that include career pathways within the direct care profession, as well as opportunities for workers to develop advanced or specialty skills through professional development and continuing education.
  • Establish a board of direct care professionals that will provide coordination and oversight to ensure a stable, qualified direct care workforce.
  • Coordinate training for consistency and increased capacity by creating a system that will allow for training entities, including community colleges, employers, and other training organizations, to meet workforce training needs.
  • Provide state recognized credentials for direct care professionals and grandfather existing workers according to their skills and experience.

The Iowa Department of Public Health received a federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to pilot the recommendations established the Council. The goal of the project is to develop a system that provides responsive and flexible training and promotes career pathways for the direct care workforce in Iowa. The training will be piloted in two regions in the state in a variety of settings, including homes, residential care facilities, assisted living programs, adult day programs, and others. Iowa is one of only six states awarded funding for the project, and the outcomes of this project are contributing to development of a national model for training direct care professionals. Most importantly, the pilot will allow the Department to test recommendations and make necessary changes before implementing any training or credentialing activities statewide. Activities include curriculum development, direct care worker retention and mentoring support, and data collection and evaluation.

For more information, listen to the November 17, 2011 Webinar or view the presentation here  Adobe Acrobat File.