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Pennsylvania to invest $4 million to train direct care workers

Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak announced today that $4 million in Direct Care Worker Training Grants (DCWTG) is available statewide to improve the quality of care provided by direct care workers while creating opportunities for them to build new careers and earn family-sustaining wages.

“Direct Care Workers assist and support patients who are not able to look after themselves in long-term care facilities like nursing homes,” said Secretary Oleksiak. “The majority of these jobs – nearly 90% – are filled by women who earn relatively low wages and receive limited health benefits. The Direct Care Worker Training Grants benefit our loved ones who need this type of assistance and the workers who care for them.”

L&I will provide up to $4 million in funding for the DCWTGs to create and develop training programs that increase the quality of services, offer specialty certifications, and create viable career opportunities for personal care assistants, home health aides and certified nursing assistants.

As demand increases in Pennsylvania for long-term care services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the quality of care and safety of workers must be maintained.

The Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Council, which advises the Department of Aging and other agencies on long-term care issues, last year developed the Blueprint for Strengthening Pennsylvania’s Direct Care Workforce. This report recommended the establishment of standardized core training for direct care workers to provide career pathways throughout the continuum of long-term services and supports.

Eligible applicants include local workforce development boards, non-profit and non-governmental entities, community-based organizations, education and post-secondary organizations, health care organizations, labor organizations, business associations, trade associations of long-term services and supports providers, and economic development entities. Grant awardees are expected to be notified by the end of November, and the grants will operate between Jan, 1, 2021 and Sept, 30, 2022.

Direct Care Worker Training Grants of up to $2 million are available through L&I’s reemployment funding to assist individuals become employed or improve their employment, including job search and placement services, educational enhancement, job training and job readiness and workplace skills training.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 2. Additional details and the grant application can be found on L&I’s website.