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  • Writer's pictureTyzza Macias

Empowering San Bernardino County Caregivers with Free Training Programs

In January, a groundbreaking initiative is set to change the lives of caregivers in San Bernardino County, California. The Center for Caregiver Advancement (CCA), in collaboration with the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) and High Road Training Partnership (HRTP), is launching a series of free training programs aimed at enhancing the skills and knowledge of caregivers. These programs are designed to empower caregivers, improve the quality of care they provide, and have a positive impact on both caregivers and those they care for.

The free training programs offered by CCA are multi-week, competency-based courses available to In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers in San Bernardino County. Caregivers can choose from three distinct programs:

IHSS Essentials: This program covers crucial aspects of caregiving, including medication safety, nutrition, assistance with activities of daily living, and effective communication skills. These fundamental skills are essential for providing comprehensive care to individuals in need.

Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia (ADRD): Caregivers enrolled in this program will gain insights into recognizing signs of Alzheimer's and learn how to manage challenging symptoms such as hallucinations, sundowning, and behavioral changes. With the prevalence of Alzheimer's increasing, specialized knowledge in this area is invaluable.

Caregiver Resiliency / Emergency Preparedness: In an era of climate-related emergencies, this program equips caregivers with the skills and knowledge needed to respond effectively to such crises. Caregivers will learn how to prepare for and recover from post-disaster trauma, ensuring the safety and well-being of their clients.

Henrene Barris, an IHSS provider in San Bernardino, is eagerly anticipating the training programs. As a member of the Advisory Committee that helped shape the project, Barris understands the importance of quality training. She shares, "It is important for in-home caregivers to have training programs available so we can provide quality care. CCA's curriculum is so detailed and relevant. The multi-week format allows for more interaction, more time for learning, and more knowledge to be shared."

In addition to offering these essential training programs, CCA is taking a groundbreaking step by partnering with researchers affiliated with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) North America at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to conduct a randomized control trial (RCT). This RCT will be the first of its kind in evaluating the impact of training for IHSS providers.

Matt Notowidigdo, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Co-Scientific Director of J-PAL North America, expresses excitement about the study. He states, "We are excited to be a part of the first-ever randomized evaluation of training for IHSS providers. We are looking forward to studying the impacts on the workforce of caregivers who receive the training as well as the individuals who are cared for by the caregivers."

The outcomes of this study have the potential to bring about significant policy changes that recognize the importance of specialized skills, improve worker retention, create pathways for advancement within the home care workforce, and secure long-term funding for caregiver training. This research sets a promising example for other states considering similar programs to support in-home caregiving.

The Alzheimer's program offered by CCA will also undergo an impact study conducted by UC San Francisco. CCA's use of an evidence-informed curriculum that has already benefited thousands of IHSS providers in California makes this study especially valuable.

Corinne Eldridge, President and CEO of CCA, emphasizes their commitment to advancing the caregiving workforce through evidence-informed approaches. "Our goal is to shift the narrative on the professionalization and value of the workforce," she states. "Access to training provides IHSS providers with opportunities for advancement within IHSS. The specialized training on Alzheimer's focuses on much-needed skills critical to providing care in under-invested communities where rates of Alzheimer's are increasing."

One remarkable aspect of these training programs is that caregivers will be paid their hourly wages for their time in training. Moreover, those who successfully complete the program can earn between $700 and $1,400. This not only recognizes the value of caregiving but also provides a tangible incentive for caregivers to participate and excel in the training.

CCA's success in launching these training programs is made possible through partnerships with the CWDB, HRTP, SEIU Local 2015, San Bernardino Public Authority, J-PAL North America, and UC San Francisco. Together, they are shaping the future of caregiving in San Bernardino County and beyond.

The Center for Caregiver Advancement is California's leading provider of training for caregivers. With a track record of training over 20,000 nursing home workers and in-home caregivers, CCA is at the forefront of improving the caregiving industry. Their evidence-informed approach, commitment to skill development, and dedication to caregiver advancement are paving the way for a brighter future for caregivers and those they serve.

As the free training programs roll out this January, San Bernardino County caregivers can look forward to acquiring specialized skills that will not only enhance their careers but also improve the lives of the individuals they care for. With innovation, research, and partnerships, CCA is setting a high standard for caregiver training and, in turn, redefining the standards of caregiving in our communities.


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