North Carolina's Direct Care Workforce Development Journey

The Better Jobs, Better Care: Building a Strong Long-Term Care Workforce demonstration supported coalitions of providers, workers, consumers, and policy-makers to improve the quality of jobs of long-term care (LTC) direct-care workers (DCWs), improve recruitment and retention, and strengthen capacity to meet future demand. This national effort was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Atlantic Philanthropies.

This case study specifically focuses on the work of one coalition, the North Carolina Partner Team, which succeeded in bringing together competing stakeholder groups. The coalition’s work eventually led to the 2006 passage of the North Carolina New Organization Vision Award (NC NOVA). This special licensure designation acknowledges nursing, home care and assisted living providers for meeting standards of workplace excellence. The article outlines several key findings that contributed to the success of the multistakeholder coalition, including leadership by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and inclusive, shared vision among diverse agents. Additionally, the case study cites fostering communication and flexibility to be important to the coalition’s successful development. This thorough look at one coalition and key elements of its context and process might prove helpful to other change-oriented coalitions.