The Origins of Better Jobs Better Care

Direct care workers (DCWs) are central figures in long-term and hands-on care to the elderly and disabled. DCWs earn some of the lowest wages in the United States with high levels of vacancy and turnover. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Atlantic Philanthropies funded the Better Jobs Better Care (BJBC) demonstration to address DCW turnover and vacancy, DCW job quality, and quality of long-term care.

This article describes the development of BJBC. It also addresses the impact BJBC had on the direct care workforce as well as policy and research communities.

Key Findings:                       

  • Workforce improvement issues addressed by BJBC included the quality of long-term care DCWs provide, the stability of DCW employment as a facet of economic growth, and the moral issue of paying workers low wages for vital and necessary work.
  • Several features characterized BJBC including state-based demonstrations, long-term care stakeholder collaboration, and policy- and practice-based interventions.
  • A tangible result of the BJBC initiative was the funding of eight applied research projects and five demonstrations that used applied research initiatives and complemented the goals of the BJBC.

During the BJBC grant period strides were made toward improving the job environment for DCWs and the quality of care DCWs provide for the elderly.