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COMMENTARY: PHI President Argues for Stronger PCA Training Standards

October 18, 2012

Direct-care workers in training

An increased emphasis on personal care aide (PCA) training standards is critical to improve both the quality of care they provide and the quality of their jobs, argues PHI President Jodi Sturgeon in an October 17 post on The Hill‘s Congress Blog.

Currently, Sturgeon writes, there are “no federal training standards [for PCAs], no federal minimum wage and overtime protections, and no requirements for states to assess the adequacy of their workforce by monitoring worker recruitment and retention.”

At a time when slow job creation is among the nation’s biggest problems, PCAs represent the country’s fastest-growing workforce (pdf), with a 70 percent growth rate estimated between 2010 and 2020, Sturgeon writes.

The problem, she argues, is that the jobs suffer from low wages, inadequate benefits, and poor training and support. “The federal government has devoted virtually no attention to building this essential workforce,” she writes.

“Improving training for PCAs is one step toward ensuring that America is prepared to care for its burgeoning population of elders and people with disabilities,” Sturgeon concludes.

– by Matthew Ozga

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