A new report is praising Iowa as one of three states developing solutions to address the problem of a shortage of direct care workers.

The report from the group called PHI National says Iowa is taking steps toward improving conditions for direct caregivers — but it also reports the state is falling behind in implementing solutions.

The executive director of Iowa Caregivers, Di Findley, says elected officials need to support better education for one of Iowa’s largest workforces. “Those who work in direct care or direct service need to have a state recognized, competency based training or credential that will follow them from one place to another, to make it portable,” Findley explains.

Findley says based a recent survey conducted by Iowa Workforce Development shows the shortage of direct care workers is growing. “We heard from those employers they simply can’t fill vacancies. They can’t find or keep people in the field, it’s taking them much longer to fill vacancies than in the past,” Findley says.

Findley says legislators need to throw their support behind a training program called “Prepare to Care ” developed by the University of Iowa College of Nursing. She says it results in credentials for direct caregivers that are portable, meaning they remain valid wherever a caregiver might work.

Thanks to Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio