H.A.N.D. Aspire and the Central Texas Home Care Coalition
Developed and Implemented by Michelle Zadrozny, LCSW-S
Background and Story
"I came to H.A.N.D. in 2013 in the position of Director of Programs and Innovation, to create capacity around recruiting, training, and retaining the home care workforce. As almost a third of the American workforce is taking care of an aging relative, we have to re-think how we sustain caregivers in our community. During my tenure at HAND I developed and implemented Aspire, an innovative, award-winning, comprehensive workforce development program, including EAP services and supports, for all staff levels including 275+ Personal Care Attendants. There was a strong community engagement component and economic development strategy, so we partnered with community members, local businesses, existing community resources, and universities to become the leader in learning-based organizations.
In 2015 HAND Aspire won the 'Innovative Program of the Year" award by Leading Age TX. As attention came to Aspire, it also caught the attention of other home care providers (private and non-profit alike), so we started collaborating to leverage resources and build capacity to expand Aspire to other employers facing similar industry challenges. Eventually this collaborative formed the Central Texas Home Care Coalition.
The Central Texas Home Care Coalition is a group of employers (and other key stakeholders) committed to strategic collaboration and developing creative solutions to our complex industry staffing challenges. We formed an alliance to address our collective priority issues: 1) Training, 2) Retention and Work Supports (including EAP), and 3) Wages and Advocacy. We support our workforce by improving access to health care - including mental health, career path supports, and best practices in training and skill development. Taking good care of our employees is essential in order to take good care of our clients.
As businesses continue to rely on doing more with less human capital, we need to be creative in how we create career path opportunities for the working poor. Businesses are a thriving member of our interconnected communities, and supporting & developing our vital human capital helps strengthen families and communities. Workforce development is an essential function of being a socially responsible corporate citizen."
- Michelle Zadrozny, LCSW-S
Director of Programs and Innovation, HAND 2013-15
Founder and Principal, The Central Texas Home Care Coalition
Key Outcomes of Aspire EAP and Workforce Development Initiative
In 2013-15, the Aspire Program:
· Provided monthly training events, reaching two thirds of the workforce
· Opened 76 new bank accounts (including new direct deposits), saving thousands of dollars per employee vs paycheck cashing services over lifetime
· Assisted 12% of our workforce through the Employee Assistance Program, with issues related to family stress, transportation issues, housing instability, and food insecurity
· Provided EAP and Job Performance coaching sessions for issues impacting an attendant’s ability to stay focused and present on the job
· Provided biweekly Pay Day Outreach events, engaging two thirds of the attendant workforce, connecting attendants with community services such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and giving out 46 free flu shots and health screenings during the inaugural event.
· Engaged six Masters level social work interns, UT Public Health Nursing students (Masters Level), two UT School of Social Work Community Partnerships class projects (Masters Level), and St Edward's University LPC Practicum students for longer term individual and family counseling needs
· Convened a group of Home Care employers in what has become the Central Texas Home Care Coalition, and industry-led partnership to address staffing, retention, and training needs
· Assisted employees with school supplies for their school aged and pre-school aged children
· Developed ESL (English as a Second Language) curriculum specifically for the Home Care/Personal Care Attendant workforce, in partnership with Literacy Coalition/English@Work, expanding work opportunities for graduating students
Key initiatives for Central Texas Home Care Coalition - Beyond Aspire
· Expand the work of the Central Texas Home Care Coalition, charging a yearly membership fee to assist with training, administrative, and industry association membership costs. Priority areas are Wages & Advocacy, Retention (including EAP and Workforce Supports), and Training.
· Continued expansion of training to include monthly two hour, paid trainings (skills training and wellness) through partner sponsorship program, including funding through National Domestic Workers' Alliance
* Ongoing, regular peer support groups and mental health counseling for paid caregivers engaged with Central Texas Home Care Coalition. Delivered in person or via secure Zoom video.
“Thank you for providing this training, this helped me with healthy food options for my clients and my own family.”
-HAND Attendant, August Training 2014
“I always wanted to find out more about a credit union and how this was different than a bank. The UFCU staff was so
nice and explained how I could keep more of my money by avoiding the costs from check cashing. Now I can get my
money the day before pay day right in my account!”
-HAND Attendant, Pay Day Resource event, March 2014
"I have never worked for an agency like this, that provides this type of support - and they pay for our time! I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to attend these groups, and the facilitators have demonstrated that they they really care about us and what we do."
-Caregiver, Assisting Hands
Peer Support Group participant, 2019
Evidence for Employee Supports Reducing Employee Turnover Intent