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A Demonstration Project That Addressed Training Needs at The State Level

The Opportunity

By establishing core competencies and associated training standards for personal and home care aides across states, we can develop national training standards for this workforce and improve home care quality nationwide.

Our Partners

Six states participated in the Personal and Home Care Aide State Training Demonstration Program (PHCAST), an initiative funded through the Affordable Care Act: California, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and North Carolina.

What We Did

PHI worked primarily with four of the PHCAST grantees to develop and/or augment their personal and home care aide training programs based on the 10 core competencies addressed by PHI’s Providing Personal Care Services to Elders and People with Disabilities curriculum. The training programs were designed for both new and incumbent workers and varied across all six states from 50 to 120 hours.

Who Was Involved

4,579 personal and home care aides were trained across the six states from 2010 through 2012.

The Results

Trainee satisfaction with the core competencies training was high (ranging from 92–100%) and attrition was remarkably low (at 12% to less than 1%, versus a norm of 40–60%). Four states that collected pre- and post-training data reported an average increase of 11–28 percent in knowledge scores. In follow-up measures, employment among trainees was 50–60% and job satisfaction was higher than average; in Michigan, for example, a significantly higher percentage of trainees reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs (93%) than control group members (79%). Although consumer satisfaction was not consistently measured, consumers surveyed in Iowa reported high satisfaction levels across a range of items, such as feeling treated with respect (100 percent) and feeling that their personal or home care aide was trained to meet their needs (94 percent).

Lessons Learned

The PHCAST evaluation concluded that competency-based training and certification programs for personal and home care aides can enhance their job satisfaction and career stability. Critical to the success and sustainability of the training programs were the implementation of complementary workforce supports (such as case management and mentoring); the development of a cadre of trainers who were prepared to deliver the curricula using effective, adult learner-centered methods; and strong partnerships among state agencies, educational institutions, workforce training organizations, professional associations, and community organizations.

“Training programs and certification … appear to enhance workers’ job satisfaction and career stability. Having a documented and demonstrable skill set can position personal and home care aides as trusted and valued team members.” – PHCAST evaluation

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