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West Virginia Schools Promote Direct-Care Certification

July 24, 2013

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is spearheading a statewide effort to allow high school students to become certified direct-care workers.

The WVDE — in partnership with the state Bureau of Senior Services as well as several other private and nonprofit entities — has developed a curriculum and competency-based test to allow the students to provide care in home and community-based settings.

The curriculum entails 50 hours of classroom theory and 50 hours of clinical application.

As many as 40 students from five different high schools and vocational centers have already become certified through the program.

“Our state currently has about 5,000 direct-care positions which cannot be filled because of a lack of qualified applicants,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jim Phares. “This is a void our career technical centers can help to fill, while also helping our students find gainful employment once they graduate from our schools.”

PHI data shows that West Virginia’s demand for direct-care aides will grow 34 percent by 2020.

— by Matthew Ozga

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