The Minnesota Department of Human Services has launched the state’s first online job platform built to connect seniors and people with disabilities with caregivers for home care support.
Direct Support Connect is a state-sponsored job board for people looking to hire direct support workers, along with Minnesota’s home care workers and personal care assistants seeking employment.
The platform, funded through collective bargaining agreements with Minnesota and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Minnesota, was created to help meet the state’s high demand for home care workers.
The job board—free to use—was something that SEIU Healthcare Minnesota had been fighting for as part of their 2017 contract negotiations.
“Workers, clients and family caregivers across Minnesota recognize the need to have a safe, accessible place to find quality caregivers for themselves or their loved ones,” Corey Van Denburgh, a home care worker and elected union president, said in statement. “We will be encouraging workers in our union to utilize this website as part of our ongoing work to make sure every Minnesotan can get the quality care they need to stay in their home. We have a lot of work still to do to really address the care crisis, but this tool is an important step in the right direction, and we are excited to see the results of home care workers and clients coming together to create a better state for Minnesota families.”
Any Minnesota resident who needs in-home care to assist with activities of daily living can use Direct Support Connect, according to the state Department of Human Services. Similarly, any individual who provides direct support services can register for the platform.
Home care workers are not required to be union members to register.
Minnesota will continue to roll out the Direct Support Connect throughout the summer and fall.
So far, about 300 caregivers and potential clients have registered on the platform, the Star Tribune reported. Overall, there are about 142,000 people registered as personal care attendants in Minnesota.
Less than half of them provided care during the last fiscal year, however.
The job vacancy rate for health care support occupations, including home health aides, was about 6.6% for full-time workers and 58% for part-time workers during the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Minnesota Employment and Economic Development.
Minnesota is estimated to need more than 25,000 additional home care workers to meet market needs moving forward into the next decade, a PHI report found. The average hourly wage for home care workers in Minnesota is $11.48, according to the labor advocacy organization.
About one in five lead home care provider agencies have identified personal care aide services among their most significant gap areas.
While Direct Support Connect fills a need to find and organize caregivers in Minnesota, it’s unclear how it may impact the hundreds of agencies providing home care services operating in the state
If individuals are able to find and hire independent caregivers directly, for example, it may somewhat circumvent the need for them to first contact an agency.
The Minnesota HomeCare Association did not respond to requests for comment by Home Health Care News.
Written by Robert Holly