In this video, Jodi Sturgeon and Steve Dawson of PHI discuss their work to improve the quality of jobs for the direct care workforce.
The Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) is a leader in advocating for better quality jobs in the direct-care workforce, which includes nearly 4 million home health aides, certified nurse aides, and personal care attendants. A Heron investee, their mission is to improve job quality for direct-care workers with the belief that this will also improve the quality of care they provide. The historically undervalued direct-care workforce is one of the fastest growing areas of employment in the economy, yet lacks important basic labor protections. Since 1975, direct-care workers have been exempt from minimum wage and overtime regulations. PHI has been a leader in advocating for a legislative change to allow workers in the sector to be protected under the law. In this video Jodi and Steve discuss PHI’s history and recent successes, as well as their experience of working with Heron to scale up their enterprise.
PHI is about 20 years old. We were founded out of our affiliated home care agency, Cooperative Home Care Associates, with a mission of quality jobs and quality care… One of the beauties of PHI is that we bring a dual approach to our work. So we are both practitioner and advocate. We work on the practice side and… work with employers and try to make the actual job in the facility or the home a better job. We also work to influence public policy… Since 1975 direct-care workers, home health aides specifically, as part of the direct care workforce… were not eligible for the protection of minimum wage and overtime. Last year [September, 2013] that rule was overturned… and it is a major victory for hundreds of thousands of workers.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Labor ruling that was indeed a major victory was vacated by a Federal judge in January 2015. PHI and other national labor advocates are working closely with the Department of Labor, providing research and submitting legal briefs to overturn the judge’s ruling. Steve Dawson:
So Heron… funded a business plan with us where we designed a capital ask… What the business plan promises in return is to double our program impact and to build our capacity out, particularly in the long term care space… Managed care is where the entire system is headed and PHI must have a presence in that space.
Check out more from thought leaders in impact investing and philanthropy in our Influencer Series. This video was shot during a retreat for some of Heron's investees in 2014.