About PolicyWorks

PHI PolicyWorks is a national strategy center working to strengthen the direct-care workforce and prepare our nation to care for a growing population of elders and people with disabilities by promoting effective national and state policy solutions.

We believe the time is right for a coordinated effort to transform the public policies that shape this workforce

Core Activities

PolicyWorks is improving direct-care workforce policy through:


Collecting, analyzing and disseminating state and national data on the direct-care workforce, to help policymakers gain a clearer picture of the workforce, direct-care jobs and related issues.


Identifying, analyzing and promoting new policy innovations at the state level to support a stable, skilled direct-care workforce that can meet growing consumer demand for long-term services and supports.


Creating tools and other resources to advocate for changes to state and federal legislation and regulations to strengthen the direct-care workforce.

The Direct-Care Workforce

By 2016, we will need 4 million direct-care workers to provide long-term services and supports—more than the number of teachers that will be needed to educate our youth in grades K-12. Yet due to low wages, limited access to benefits, inadequate training and support, and few advancement opportunities, many workers bypass these occupations. Unless we take action now to invest in the direct-care workforce and improve the quality of these essential jobs, we will face a caregiving crisis that could jeopardize the quality of life for millions of Americans who need support with daily activities. In addition, failure to act will put further strains on already overburdened American families.

The direct-care workforce is central to three key policy issues that affect the lives of millions of Americans:

  • Access to Care: High rates of direct-care worker vacancies and turnover limit access to needed services for elders and people with disabilities.
  • Quality of Care: Seven out of ten long-term care staff are direct-care workers who provide daily care, support, and companionship to elders and people with disabilities. As a consequence, policymakers cannot improve the quality of eldercare and disability services without addressing the quality of direct-care jobs.
  • Economic development: One million new direct-care positions over the next decade makes direct-care occupations some of the fastest growing in the country. At a time when stemming job loss and stabilizing families are paramount concerns, eldercare and disability services can play a critical role in promoting economic development in the low-income communities where these workers live and in boosting our economy overall.

Given these challenges, we believe that the time is right for a coordinated effort to transform the public policies that shape this workforce.

As the nation’s premier strategy center for that effort, PolicyWorks will collect and analyze state workforce data, report on innovative policy initiatives, and promote a transformative advocacy agenda in a number of strategic areas.

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