Direct Care Workforce Strategies Center to host learning collaboratives to share best practices

Simona Combi
Public Relations Manager

Arlington, VA, May 2, 2024—With the U.S. facing a dire shortage of professionals to provide home- and community-based services (HCBS) to a rapidly growing population of older adults and people with disabilities, the Direct Care Workforce Strategies Center, led by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) on behalf of the Administration for Community Living (ACL), has chosen 14 states to participate in State Peer-Learning Collaboratives where they can share demonstrated models for growing the direct care workforce.

Between 2021 and 2031, the direct care workforce is projected to add more than 1 million new jobs, yet nearly 9.3 million total direct care jobs will need to be filled during that same period, according to PHI. Low wages, lack of full-time employment, and the pandemic have caused fewer workers to enter direct care at the exact time the need for their services is growing.

Funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL), the Direct Care Workforce Strategies Center is addressing this challenge by providing resources, technical assistance, and training to state systems, providers, and stakeholders to improve direct care workforce recruitment, training, and retention.

“Addressing the direct care workforce crisis is national problem that requires state-based solutions,” said Josh Hodges, NCOA Chief Customer Officer.

“Empowering states to share what’s working will make it easier to replicate proven solutions across the country.”

Each state in the State Peer-Learning Collaboratives will participate in working groups to discuss innovative strategies for growing and enhancing the direct care workforce. The working groups will hold monthly meetings focused on group learning, information sharing, and developing best practices. With the help of a subject matter expert, each participating state also will accomplish one policy or program-related milestone.

The 14 states participating in the first cohort include: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. The first cohort runs through December 31, 2024.

The Direct Care Workforce Strategies Center also will be providing Intensive Technical Assistance to six additional states. Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, New Jersey, and New Mexico each will receive up to 250 hours of individualized technical assistance, have a coach, and have access to subject matter experts to support them in addressing their state's unique direct care workforce challenges. Each team includes representatives from the state's Medicaid, aging, disability, and workforce development agencies, in addition to other stakeholders.

About NCOA  
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the national voice for every person’s right to age well. We believe that how we age should not be determined by gender, color, sexuality, income, or ZIP code. Working with thousands of national and local partners, we provide resources, tools, best practices, and advocacy to ensure every person can age with health and financial security. Founded in 1950, we are the oldest national organization focused on older adults. Learn more at and @NCOAging.

This opportunity is supported by grant DCW 90DNCW0001 from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Points of view or opinions are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent official ACL policy.