In an effort to address the growing COVID-19-induced workforce strain, Kairos HQ has partnered with CareAcademy to launch an initiative that aims to train, certify and provide job placement for 10,000 new caregivers.
Kairos is a New York-based venture capital company that produces and invests in startups. The company tends to focus on housing and health care companies.
Boston-based CareAcademy is a training platform for home care professionals. The company currently serves roughly 1,000 home care clients and locations, including Comfort Keepers, Home Care Assistance, Home Helpers, Visiting Angels, CareLinx and Gareda Home Care Services, among others.
Along with it being a public health emergency, COVID-19 has ushered in an economic downturn that has resulted in a reduction in general business activity and a spike in unemployment.
While states have reopened and continue to lift the government-mandated closure of non-essential businesses, unemployment rates remain high, with employment decreasing by roughly 20 million from February to May, according to data from the Pew Research Center.
At the same time, there is a surge in the need for health care workers and caregivers due to the COVID-19 emergency, Ankur Jain, CEO of Kairos, told Home Health Care News.
“We saw this as an opportunity to solve two very different problems with one elegant solution,” Jain said. “There are so many young people who are losing their jobs in retail, hospitality and other service-facing industries who could be the perfect candidate to get trained and begin a new career in home care — entering the workforce to take care of the elderly.”
As part of the initiative, would-be caregivers in any state can apply for free home health aide training and certification. The program is a combination of digital courses, in-person training, background checks and job placement through CareAcademy.
The program will be free for the first 10,000 applicants.
“They’ll get to go through CareAcademy, get a full 60-hour digital training, and then work with local agency partners to complete the in-person training and get certified as a home health aide,” Jain said.
Fresh off of a $9.5 million fundraising round, CareAcademy’s position as a tech-forward company made the organization an attractive partner, according to Jain.
“What we liked about CareAcademy is the company’s very forward-thinking digital approach to training, which makes them successful at scaling,” he said.
While CareAcademy is Kairos’s primary partner in this effort, the company has also partnered with Care.com to offer access to additional job opportunities.
“Once they have an agency job, Care.com can play a really valuable role in just finding those additional opportunities quickly,” Jain said. “We wanted to make sure that they weren’t overly reliant on a single agency partner to distill out the kind of income they need.”
Although COVID-19 was one of the main factors behind this initiative, Kairos wanted to address the changing job landscape as well.
“We were thinking about the future of jobs for this generation,” Jain said. “Many traditional jobs are at risk because of automation. But also, as large companies like Amazon continue to grow, a lot of these small businesses and retailers are starting to go out of business. We had long been thinking about how the home care sector is one of the few areas where you’re seeing tremendous job growth.”
Looking ahead, Jain believes that CareAcademy and Care.com will continue to grow these efforts after the initial 10,000 applicants.
“We will kind of hand this off to them after that 10,000,” Jain said. “Our current plan is to get this first cohort out, and then we’ll see how this develops. The current economic situation is creating an opportunity to attract an entirely new type of candidate into the home care workforce. And that’s an opportunity for providers to be looking at when trying to scale out their workforce.”