HOUSTON, Sept. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Direct care workers from across the state honed their leadership and advocacy skills on September 27 and 28 at the Houston Voices Institute Leadership Program. A state-level version of an intensive, interactive national training program developed and administered by the Direct Care Alliance, the training covered personal and professional development, with an emphasis on advocating for the profession in policy discussions.
The event was co-hosted by the Direct Care Alliance (DCA) and Care for Elders. The Area Agency on Aging of Harris County and the United Way of Greater Houston also helped make it possible, providing funding and meeting space.
Attendees were chosen for their leadership skills and commitment to excellence. "This has been a fantastic event to empower direct care workers in the Houston area," says DCA National Advocacy Coordinator Jessica Brill Ortiz. "They're really excited about getting involved at the state and national level to bring about much-needed change and get this crucial workforce the respect it deserves."
In one session, Texas Representative Garnet Coleman spoke to the group about advocacy. "You all have power through your voice," he told them. "Use your voice through telephone calls or visits to your elected officials to express your opinions."
Direct care workers—the nursing assistants, home care and home health workers, personal care assistants, and others who provide hands-on care and services to elders and people with disabilities who need long-term assistance—belong to one of the fastest growing job categories in the nation. "That makes these jobs vital to the state's and the nation's economic recovery, and we believe that there's no better way to improve them than to make sure that direct care workers have a voice," says DCA National Field Director Brenda Nachtway.
The Direct Care Alliance is the national advocacy voice of direct care workers in long-term care. We empower workers to speak out for better wages, benefits and training, so more people can commit to direct care as a career.
Care for Elders, a partnership uniting over 80 members from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, is dedicated to informing public policy and influencing community practice to increase access to services, improve the quality of care, and enhance the quality of life for older adults and their families.
Jessica Brill Ortiz
SOURCE Direct Care Alliance