Home health aides (HHA) provide routine individualized healthcare such as changing bandages and dressing wounds, and applying topical medications at the patient’s home or in a care facility. In addition, they monitor or report changes in health status and may also provide personal care such as bathing, dressing, and grooming of patient. The HHA position is the second fastest growing healthcare occupation in New York City, with a projected 47.7% increase in number of jobs from 2010 to 2020. That means an additional 37,000 jobs over a decade and an average of 4,700 openings per year in New York City alone. Between health care reform and the retirement of the baby boom generation, the demand for home care is expected to continue growing at record speed and health care reforms highlight the value of home care work and the need for comprehensive training within the field.
 Source: United States Department of Labor, 2010 Standard Occupation Classification
 Source: NYS DOL, Jobs in Demand/Projects, Long-term Occupation Projections 2010-2020
“My grandma was in a nursing home. I’ve seen how some people are treated in nursing homes and I didn’t want to be like that. I want to take care of people, to show people in nursing homes that I’m not just there to get a job, but to treat people with respect and caring. We learned in the training that this is not the type of job you have just to have a job. You have to care to do this type of work.”
– Kamora Dow, HHA training participant
Quality Home Care Workforce Pilot Program
The Quality Home Care Workforce Pilot Program aims to both improve the quality and stability of the home care workforce and the quality of the home health aide job. This two phase initiative builds on the experience of both the Homecare Aide Workforce Initiative and the CUNY Home Health Aide Training and Employment Program. In addition to connecting New Yorkers to employment, the pilot aspires to increase retention, job satisfaction, operational efficiency, average hours and income for home health aides, English proficiency and financial literacy.
- Phase I: selected home care agencies trained and certified 179 Home Health Aides over three month period. This enhanced training model includes an intensive recruitment and screening process through Workforce1, employer selection of and commitment to hire trainees, coaching and technical assistance, an English as a Second Language bridge course with 1199SEIU Home Care Education Fund, and an enhanced, adult-learner centered curriculum developed in partnership with Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI).
- Phase II: an industry expert will serve as a consultant to selected home care agencies, conducting an assessment of supervisory and scheduling practices, offering recommendations for improvements, and providing training to supervisors of home health aides. A request for proposals for the consultant as well as applications for interested home care agencies will be available shortly.
As part of the Quality Home Care Workforce Pilot Program, 1199SEIU Home Care Education Fund is offering an English as a Second Language (ESL) course, contextualized for work as a home health aide, as a bridge to employer-based home health aide training and employment. This one month intensive advanced ESL course will cover speaking, understanding, reading, and writing, with special emphasis on home care vocabulary and tasks. Students will transition directly from the ESL bridge to home health aide training and employment.
“I did a 14 day training and an 11 day training previously. You come into class and they try to cram a lot of information down your mind and it doesn’t work. This 21 day course – when you walked out of that classroom you were truly qualified. This 21 day course is the best thing in New York and even the country that could happen to us in this field.”
– Anonymous, HHA training participant
CUNY HHA Training and Employment Initiative
This initiative builds upon the work done in the employer-based initiative by taking the lessons learned and applying them to HHA trainings at the City University of New York (CUNY). PHI works with CUNY to enhance their HHA curriculum and provides coaching and technical assistance to instructors throughout the six months that this 17-day course is offered. In addition, PHI provides input on screening and assessment tools for unemployed individuals interested in homecare, and works with New York City’s Workforce1 Career Centers to implement these. Three homecare employers help to screen and select participants and commit to hire those that successfully complete the program and receive certification. This initiative is funded by the New York City Department of Small Business Services and NYACH.
“What we loved about this training model was that the creators both followed the state training guidelines and incorporated additional features such as job readiness and role-play. These pieces are extremely important as the students get to experience some of the most challenging issues in home care hands-on, preparing them for situations they may encounter on the job.”
– Jeanne O’Donnell, Director, Progressive Home Care
Homecare Aide Workforce Initiative
This home health aide (HHA) training initiative is spearheaded by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) in collaboration with three home care agencies. As part of the Homecare Aide Workforce Initaitive (HAWI), PHI develops a curriculum that incorporates adult-centric learning methods, hands-on simulation, peer mentors, coaching support, and employer input. PHI guides and assists the three participating homecare agencies in conducting the 17-day training, and the unemployed and underemployed individuals who receive certification are hired by the three participating home care agencies as HHAs. This initiative is funded by the UJA Federation of New York and Weinberg Foundation, and also receives funding from NYACH.
Secluded; surrounded by my own victimization.
Worried about the wrong things; like who or why somebody is hating.
Head hung low, as though the floor’s my concentration.
Looking for the typical misery that I saw as me.
Just to realize I have goals to reach!
Now with my head held high I no longer stand alone and cry.
Pride in my voice when I speak,
Direct eye contact and understanding, we shall reach.
No longer needing one’s pity or sympathy.
I open my mind to a better individual,
One who cares, communicates and knows empathy.
Someone who’s now victorious and filled with pride,
Someone who’s face no longer hides.
The beauty of helping others opens my heart to a world I knew as unknown.
With all your help and dedication,
It’s amazing how I’ve grown.
By Sharlene Jones, HHA (Cohort 2) Student CityTech, Brooklyn