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Senator Hassan Introduces Legislation to Address New Hampshire’s Shortage of Home Health Aides

Bill Is Supported by Community College System of New Hampshire and Senior Helpers of the Greater Seacoast, Which Senator Hassan Recently Visited

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan joined her colleagues in introducing legislation to support in-home direct care workers in New Hampshire and across the country. The Direct CARE Opportunity Act will help to address the demand for direct care workers by strengthening support for workers who provide daily living assistance to millions of older Americans, people with disabilities, and others with chronic care needs.

Earlier this month, Senator Hassan visited Senior Helpers of the Greater Seacoast to discuss the importance of investing in workforce development initiatives to address these sorts of job shortages in the state.

“Direct care workers provide invaluable support to seniors and people experiencing disabilities – but in New Hampshire and across the country, there are not enough people to fill these critical roles,” said Senator Hassan. “This bill not only helps to close this workforce gap, but will also directly benefit the direct care workers by investing in training as well as career advancement.”

“Across the country there is a major shortage of caregivers to provide the services necessary to allow those in need to remain in their home,” said Gayle Davis, Vice President of Senior Helpers. “There is a workforce that is available to fill the gap, but there are currently obstacles to recruiting and retaining these workers. With a growing population of seniors in New Hampshire that is going to continue for the next 20 or so years—and as of 2020 we will be short 1.8 million caregivers in this country—we need to act now. This legislation will support workers and seniors alike.”

“The Direct CARE Opportunity Act will help close a critical workforce gap by investing in workforce training programs for direct care workers, such as the Senior Helpers apprenticeship program in Stratham,” said Beth Doiron, Director of College Access and Department of Education Programs and Initiatives at the Community College System of NH. “We look forward to working with Senator Hassan to continue building on her efforts to help close workforce gaps and to strengthen career pathways programs for students across the Granite State.”

Senator Hassan joined Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) in introducing the Direct CARE Opportunity Act, and the bill was also introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-03). The bill addresses the need for a well-trained direct care workforce by:

  • Providing funding to fifteen entities to invest in strategies to recruit, retain and advance the direct care workforce pipeline;
  • Implementing models and strategies to make the field of direct care more attractive, such as training, providing career pathways, mentoring, and allowing for local and regional innovation to address workforce shortages in a high-demand field;
  • Encouraging retention and career advancement in the growing field of direct care; and
  • Responding to the needs of a growing aging population and allowing older Americans, people with disabilities, and others who require direct care services to remain in their communities, when possible.

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