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Pima Council on Aging: Why you should be a direct care worker

Campaign Addresses Critical In-Home Caregiver Shortage in the Region
Posted at 12:56 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 10:52:49-04

Pima Council on Aging is a paid sponsor of The Morning Blend.

Older adults and the sector that serves them are facing a severe and worsening direct care workforce shortage. Direct Care Workers provide in-home care by assisting with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, mobility, light chores, and shopping.

There were not enough workers to fill caregiving jobs in Tucson prior to the pandemic, and with the significant labor migration currently taking place, that shortage has become much worse. That’s a serious issue for older adults, 70% of whom will someday need in-home assistance.

Pima Council on Aging (PCOA) is partnering with United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona’s to expand the Direct Care Workforce Resource Program, which provides free training and support to prepare people to enter the direct care workforce. PCOA has invested in this work and recently launched an awareness campaign to encourage interest in both the United Way’s program and direct care work as a career.

“PCOA is currently serving over 350 older adults who need and qualify for in-home assistance but are waiting to receive that help because there are simply no workers available to care for them,” according to W. Mark Clark, President & CEO at Pima Council on Aging.

Clark says that need will only continue to grow, and that by 2028, experts predict there will be 200,000 open direct care jobs in Arizona alone.

There are currently 4.6 million of these workers in the U.S., according to PHI National, which projects that between 2019 and 2029, the direct care workforce will add an estimated 1.3 million new jobs to meet rising demand. That’s more new jobs than any other single occupation. Factoring in high rates of turnover in the field, it is estimated that long-term care employers will need to fill 7.4 million job openings in direct care from 2019-2029.

Tony Penn, President & CEO at United Way of Tucson, and Southern Arizona, says that Direct Care Workers are essential to the health and well-being of our community.

“Right now, we’re facing a critical shortage that is affecting thousands of our neighbors. We’re proud to work with our trusted partners at PCOA to help address this critical care issue all the while helping those in need find a stable and meaningful career. We know not one single entity can tackle this problem alone and we’re inspired to utilize our United approach to work with our friends at PCOA,” said Penn.

“PCOA is dedicated to working alongside community partners like the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona to recruit and train the excellent direct care workforce our community so desperately needs,” added Clark, about the partnership.

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