DHS and SEIU are involved in a joint effort to help meet this challenge. The State of Minnesota and SEIU reached a collective bargaining agreement in 2015 that includes strategies to improve workers’ skills and match workers with people who need workers. One focus is to provide free classroom and online training to workers to gain new skills and enhance career development. The free classroom training provides certification in first aid and CPR. It’s offered statewide through Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. The free online training offers more subjects for workers to choose from depending on their experience and interests. It also allows people in self-directed programs to identify the courses, they want their workers to take. Additionally, there is a training conference being planned.
All training is open to any worker providing PCA Choice, CDCS and CSG services. It doesn’t matter if they are a union member or not. More details about these opportunities are included in a full page advertisement in this issue.
A second area of focus has been the creation of a new online matching registry, Direct Support Connect. Direct Support Connect allows workers to enter profiles that reflect their skills and experiences. Similarly, it allows people who are looking for workers to input profiles that include their needs and preferences. The result is a virtual marketplace where workers and people who use services are free to shop for the best fit. Direct Support Connect is currently in the final stages of testing and will be announced when it is available.
Working together, DHS and SEIU aim to improve the skills and raise the standards of workers serving people who direct their own services. These joint efforts are contributing to the growth of a vibrant workforce.