The New Mexico Caregivers Coalition was formed in 2009 in direct response to caregiver worker shortages. They receive few to no benefits, little training and little to no recognition for their work. NMCC is led by a Board of Directors who is themselves direct caregivers, with input and guidance from people who are elderly and/or disabled. The organization is a registered 501(c)(3) organization. Administrative management is provided by a Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Program Director.
In 2008, a series of Listening Sessions were held in all regions of New Mexico in which caregivers were asked to share information and solutions that would contribute to overcoming personal and professional challenges. These sessions served as a basis for obtaining valuable information across all regions of New Mexico, and they also served as the basis for establishing foundational programs of the Coalition. Travelling to these locations was important so organizers could support caregivers’ interests and so caregivers could feel free responding to creation the of an organization dedicated solely to their needs.
Planning and infrastructure development was paid for through seed funding by the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. Following the Listening Sessions, 2009 began with a calendar of community events, induction of a first Board of Directors and leadership development and training for members.
Today, the New Mexico Caregivers Coalition is led by a Board representative of all regions of New Mexico, the various occupations within the field and the populations served by caregivers. Coalition membership is open to any person whose primary occupation is as a direct caregiver.
Direct care workers’ salaries nationally and in New Mexico are often below the median area income. The average hourly wage of a New Mexico home health care aide is $8.54. Many caregivers work two jobs, and often still may not earn enough to pay for health insurance. The Coalition reaches thousands of New Mexicans. Reaching out to this hard-working and somewhat isolated group of workers, the Coalition will provide literacy, job training and professional education so they may earn higher salaries and advance their careers.