NEW YORK (March 1, 2022) – PHI today announced a partnership with New Jersey Advocates for Aging Well – a statewide organization that focuses solely on leadership in public policy and education to support New Jersey’s seniors – to co-lead a multi-year program policy advocacy effort focused on strengthening the state’s direct care workforce.

This partnership is part of PHI’s Essential Jobs, Essential Care™ multi-state advocacy initiative, which launched in 2020 and currently includes Michigan, New Mexico, New York and North Carolina. New Jersey becomes the fifth state to join this initiative.

“This partnership and focus on direct care staff will be a key part of age-friendly efforts throughout New Jersey,” said Cathy Rowe, DrPH, executive director of New Jersey Advocates for Aging Well.

“We must prepare not only for an aging population, but also for the workforce needed to help our state’s residents age with dignity and independence,” Rowe added.

“We are thrilled to partner with New Jersey Advocates for Aging Well to help transform New Jersey’s direct care jobs and build on our history of success in the state,” said Jodi M. Sturgeon, president of PHI.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has made even clearer, direct care workers across New Jersey deserve support and recognition for their essential work,” Sturgeon added.

Although more than 101,000 New Jersey social workers provide essential support to seniors and people with disabilities statewide, their jobs are often characterized by inadequate pay, limited training and advancement opportunities, and other challenges related to poor job quality. As a result, almost 40% of direct state social workers live in or near poverty, and 41% have access to some form of public assistance.

These challenges are also driving direct care providers away from this sector, making it harder for providers to meet current and growing demand. In this context, PHI estimates that New Jersey long-term care employers will need to fill nearly 179,000 vacancies in direct care from 2018 to 2028, which includes new jobs to meet growing demand and jobs that must be filled when existing workers are transferred to other occupations or leave the labor market.

This joint advocacy initiative will bring together diverse stakeholders from across New Jersey to identify and champion a range of policy solutions that address these and other challenges.

ABOUT ESSENTIAL JOBS, ESSENTIAL CARE NEW JERSEY

Through Essential Jobs, Essential Care New Jersey, PHI and New Jersey Advocates for Aging Well will convene a steering committee and a diverse coalition of state and local leaders and advocates from various sectors to advance policy reforms on this workforce .

In other essential jobs, Essential Care Initiative states, PHI and its coalition partners have successfully brought together a range of leaders and advocates to discuss pressing issues, find commonalities, create roadmaps of advocacy with concrete political goals and activities, achieving short-term political victories. term and build advocacy capacity.

An upcoming progress report from PHI details the notable successes of the Essential Jobs, Essential Care initiative.

In November 2020, building on years of policy and practice work in New Jersey, PHI released a policy report on the state’s direct care workforce and held a virtual discussion with key leaders to discuss the findings of the report. Participants in the discussion overwhelmingly agreed that creating a multi-year joint advocacy initiative in the state was the most critical next step.

New Jersey has also made strides toward improving direct care jobs in recent years.

For example, in July 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy earmarked $240 million for salary increases for direct support professionals, certified nursing aides, orderlies, Medicaid transportation providers, and nurses. nurseries.

Additionally, earlier this year, Governor Murphy signed into law a bill that earmarks $1 million to create pipelines and career advancement opportunities for direct support professionals, a segment of the workforce. of direct care that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Despite these early victories, further policy advances will be needed to strengthen and stabilize New Jersey’s direct care workforce.

“New Jersey has made remarkable progress on direct care workforce policy over the past few years, and we are excited to work with New Jersey Advocates for Aging Well and other leaders across the State to help create a new reality for this essential but undervalued workforce,” said Hannah Diamond, State Policy Advocacy Specialist at PHI and Organizational People Lead for Essential Jobs, Essential Care New Jersey.

This New Jersey initiative is generously funded by the Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation.

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About NJAAW

NJ Stands for Aging Well (NJAAW, njaaw.org) has been at the forefront of the aging experience revolution since 1998. It is the only statewide nonprofit organization focused solely on leadership in public policy and education to enable older people to live with independence and dignity in their communities. NJAAW social action issues include senior housing and hunger, senior economic security, older workers, and transportation. Aging Insights, a monthly themed television show produced by NJAAW, connects caregivers, older adults and their families to community services and resources. The show is available on NJAAW Youtube channel at youtube.com/njadvocatesforagingwell and website, as well as public access stations across NJ (check local listings for channels and times). NJAAW also presents educational forums and an annual conference (June 13, 2022) providing development opportunities and best practices for professionals responsible for caring for aging adults. Follow NJAAW on Facebook and Instagram @njadvocatesforagingwell and Twitter @njagingwell.

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