The New Mexico Direct Caregivers Coalition supports the Direct Care Job Quality Improvement Act of 2011, now being considered by Congress (H.R. 2341).

We asked agencies and caregivers throughout New Mexico to join us in a letter to members of the New Mexico congressional delegation. See the letter by Clicking Here.

Direct care is one of the fastest growing professions in our nation, and investing in these jobs will help rebuild our national and local economy. This bill will extend wage and overtime protections to home care workers, people have been denied justice under the Fair Labor Standards Act to date. Caregivers provide indispensable care and services to the elderly and individuals living with disabilities. Yet, too often, poor working conditions lead to high (50-80%) turnover in the workforce, jeopardizing the quality of care provided to those who need it most.

The Direct Care Job Quality Improvement Act was introduced by Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. and Representative Linda Sanchez. Thus far, Senators Tom Harkin, Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders have signed on as co-sponsors.

In addition to extending basic labor protections to home care workers, the bill strengthens data collection and workforce monitoring in order to improve direct care workforce recruitment and retention. The bill also provides for grants to states for worker training.

Personal and home care aides are the second fastest-growing occupation both nationally and in New Mexico. Figures from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that in 2006, there were 21,520 New Mexicans whose primary occupation was nursing assistant, home health aide or personal care/home care aide. Annual job openings for these occupations are expected to increase 58 percent between 2006 and 2016. This figure translates to 6,190 additional job openings in New Mexico for personal and home care aides by the year 2016.

The direct care workforce must be stable enough to support this growth, with competitive wages that make the field an attractive one to qualified jobseekers.

Help us lead the way in New Mexico to provide for stability in the direct care workforce for persons who are elderly and those with disabilities.

If you would like more information, Click Here.

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