Redeployment of Displaced Workers to Direct Care

The direct care workforce, which includes nursing assistants, home health aides, and personal care aides, provides critical daily support to older adults and people with disabilities across long-term care settings. Currently numbering nearly 4.5 million workers, this workforce is expected to add 1.3 million new jobs from 2018 to 2028, which is more new jobs than any other single occupation in the country. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on long-standing workforce challenges and unemployment rates, this study will explore the extent to which displaced workers from across the labor market have been redeployed where they are acutely needed, namely into direct care jobs in long-term care.

This study aims to generate recommendations about where to focus recruitment efforts and how to design career pathways, bridge training programs, and onboarding approaches that strengthen these pipelines and ensure that new direct care workers are optimally prepared to succeed in their roles. This study is being conducted in partnership with PHI.


Key Questions

  • How many direct care workers and workers from other occupations with similar entry-level requirements became unemployed during the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • To what extent do the knowledge, skills, work activities, and work context of the displaced workers’ previous occupations align with those of the three direct care occupations (i.e., personal care aide, home health aide, nursing assistant)?
  • What proportion of the displaced workers moved into direct care jobs within the following year, and from what previous occupations?