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California Providers, Policymakers ‘Lean On’ Training & Apprenticeship Programs ‘To Beef Up’ Home-Based Care Workforce

Published Tuesday, December 28, 2021
by Joyce Famakinwa/Home Health Care News
California Providers, Policymakers ‘Lean On’ Training & Apprenticeship Programs ‘To Beef Up’ Home-Based Care Workforce

(SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA) - As workforce challenges continue to plague the Home-Based Care Industry, providers and policymakers are leaning on training and Apprenticeship Programs to help close the gap.

In September, the City College of San Francisco (CCSF), UC San Francisco (UCSF) and Homebridge, a San Francisco-based in-home care organization, teamed up on such an initiative.

Together, the three formed an on-the-job training program for Homebridge Workers.

The program, funded by the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Metta Fund, offers Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification through CCSF and links participants to on-the-job clinical training with UCSF.

“We’ve long wanted to look for a connection between our home care career ladder and a health care career,” Mark Burns, Executive Director of Homebridge, told Home Health Care News. “We wanted to give our Workers the opportunity to move into better-paying careers and create more of a career path pipeline for ourselves and the City and County of San Francisco.”

Homebridge, which provides an agency model of in-home supportive services, currently employs 300 full-time Caregivers and serves 1,000 clients annually - who are participants in the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program under Medi-Cal.

Homebridge manages roughly 5% of the total population of IHSS recipients in San Francisco.

“Our workforce is in three layers,” he said. “You come in and do a basic, week-long skills development.  As time goes by, your supervisor can recommend you for advancement.  We currently have three tiers, and it usually takes about a year and a half to two years for a Worker to make their way through all three tiers.  At each of the progressive tiers, they move up about ($1) on our pay scale.”

In many ways, the partnership with CCSF and UCSF builds off this foundation.

“It’s taken us a couple of years to put this program together,” Burns said. “We’ve been working mostly with (CCSF), as they have the accreditation to train CNAs.  We’ve developed this program where we as the training organization and employer offer a twelve-week, on-the-job CNA program for people who have finished their third year of training at Homebridge and are interested in moving beyond and starting a health care career.”

Under the program, Homebridge Employees are working three days a week, training one day a week, then doing clinical supervision one day a week.

“The clinical supervision part is where UCSF comes in,” Burns said. “They are a large medical system here in San Francisco and they’re also a large employer of CNAs.  They are going to be the clinical site for our CNA students.  We are then hoping that our CNA graduates will get placed into either UCSF or one of the other large health care systems.”

For Caregivers, CNA certification can often mean a pay bump.

Burns notes Caregivers starting at an entry-level wage could see a bump to roughly $22 an hour.

Additionally, the pay for entry-level CNA jobs with organizations such as UCSF and Laguna Honda Hospital - another potential employer of Workers who complete this program, starts around $25 an hour and goes up to about $35 an hour at the top, according to Burns.

Burns believes the workforce shortage has forced providers to become pro-active problem-solvers.

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