Weinberg Foundation Collaborates in Nearly $3 Million Professional Caregiver Training Project

BALTIMORE, Md., Jan. 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States, today announced the full launch of the Homecare Aide Workforce Initiative. The Weinberg Foundation is providing $1.6 million of the total $2.95 million project cost.

Roughly 20 percent of the care for frail and chronically ill older adults is provided by a workforce of roughly 3.2 million paid caregivers throughout the United States. This innovative project will lead to improved care for older adults while simultaneously benefiting those who have made a career by providing that care. The Homecare Aide Workforce Initiative will establish a best practices baseline for recruitment, training, and supervision of paid caregivers.

"We were disturbed to learn that these workers, who provide care for our frailest and most vulnerable relatives, neighbors, and friends, have among the lowest levels of training and few, if any, employee benefits," said Rachel Garbow Monroe, Weinberg Foundation President. "Through the Homecare Aide Workforce Initiative, the Weinberg Foundation is taking what we believe is a major step toward not only addressing these serious issues but also proactively improving the overall care of vulnerable older adults as well as the workplace security and satisfaction of those who are paid to care for them."

In collaboration with UJA-Federation of New York and several of their beneficiary agencies -- Selfhelp Community Services, Inc., Jewish Home Lifecare, CenterLight Health System, and Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty; PHI (the Paraprofessional Health Institute); the Visiting Nurse Service of New York; New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare; the Tiger Foundation; the Surdna Foundation; and the New York Community Trust; this 27-month program will provide hands-on, intensive, comprehensive, and specialty training to at least 600 new and 400 experienced homecare workers.

"UJA-Federation of New York is committed to pursuing high-level strategies to address the challenges and opportunities that will emerge from the dramatic growth in the older adult population in the years ahead," said John Ruskay, Executive Vice President and CEO of UJA-Federation of New York. "This pilot enables us to do just that. We are thrilled to co-invest with the Weinberg Foundation on an initiative of mutual interest and importance."

Jodi Sturgeon, PHI President added "PHI is pleased to have been selected to help design the Homecare Aide Workforce Initiative. We believe the result will establish a new standard for assessing the quality of future training and employment programs for direct-care workers across the country."

Tiger Foundation President Charles Buice said, "We have been long-time supporters of PHI through our Employment portfolio, and we are very pleased to support this effort to help an even larger number of homecare workers receive the high quality of training PHI has long delivered."

"We are pleased that the VNSNY Center for Home Care Policy and Research is a part of this important initiative," remarked Penny Feldman, Senior Vice President of Research and Evaluation and Director of the Center for Home Care Policy and Research. "In addition to assessing the impact on new homecare aides and on the continuity of care they provide to older adults, our evaluation also will identify 'lessons learned' and best practices for implementing effective training and employment practices for the homecare aide workforce. We anticipate that such lessons will be invaluable for other organizations seeking to replicate the approach of the Homecare Aide Workforce Initiative."

Shawna Trager, Executive Director of the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare added, "This initiative is an example of a meaningful partnership between employers and a training organization working hand in hand to ensure that the curriculum and training of this growing workforce reflects the skills required for the job and patient population. This approach will improve the quality of training and employment for home health and personal care aides, while also improving the quality of elder care."

"This type of collaboration demonstrates the nonprofit sector's potential to effect positive change, simultaneously, in a variety of ways," said Phillip Henderson, President of the Surdna Foundation. "The Homecare Aide Workforce Initiative will not only address improved care for older adults but will also improve the availability of quality jobs for disadvantaged communities in particular, which is central to the Surdna Foundation's mission."

Len McNally, Program Director for the New York Community Trust (NYCT), commented, "This project is an ideal way to meet a NYCT goal to improve the home care workforce, which is the lifeline for thousands of disabled home bound elders. It also is consistent with health reform goals to make care more effective and efficient."

By 2020, it is estimated that the United States will need 5-million direct care workers. When this happens, the U.S. will have more direct care workers than teachers for grades kindergarten through 12.

"For the Weinberg Foundation, the Homecare Aide Workforce Initiative is the next step in the Foundation's overarching vision for improved care for disadvantaged and vulnerable older adults," said Barry Schloss, Weinberg Foundation Trustee. "The Foundation is just completing its first Caregiver Initiative, a three-year, $8.1 million project involving 14 organizations in nine states intended to identify supports and services for family and informal caregivers. The final evaluation findings for this initiative will be released soon," Schloss added. "But the Weinberg Foundation has already seen dramatic results which – coupled with the paid caregiver training program now underway – frame a brighter, more secure future for our aging population."

Older adults and workforce development represent the Weinberg Foundation's two largest areas of grantmaking with a combined total of approximately $45 million in grants per year.

About The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States, provides approximately $100 million in annual grants to nonprofits that provide direct services to economically disadvantaged people, primarily in the U.S. and Israel. Grants are focused on meeting basic needs and enhancing an individual's ability to meet those needs with emphasis on older adults, the Jewish community, and our hometown communities of Maryland, northeastern Pennsylvania, and Hawaii. The trustees, some of whom also serve as executive officers of the Foundation, are Alvin Awaya, Judge Ellen M. Heller, Robert T. Kelly, Jr., Barry I. Schloss, and Chairman of the Board Donn Weinberg. Rachel Monroe serves as the Weinberg Foundation's President. For more information please go to www.hjweinbergfoundation.org

CONTACT: Craig Demchak 443-738-1159 cdemchak@hjweinberg.orgSource:The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation(EST)