Profiles of Best Practices: Chesterfield Services Inc.

Invest in Training

“Our Workers Are Our Customers”

Founded in 1996, Chesterfield Health Services, Inc., is a licensed home health care provider that serves Washington State and, more recently, Northern Virginia. With 1,800-plus employees in Washington State, the agency provides personal care and home health services to more than 2,000 clients.

Chesterfield’s founder and President/CEO, Stella Ogiale, speaks highly of her workforce. She refers to, and conceptualizes, her workers as her customers. “We have long recognized that frontline workers — caregivers — are the most important part of our business,” says Ogiale. “We look at them as our customers. They are vital members of the Chesterfield community who promote value and growth. If we treat them with respect and dignity, they will express that onward.”

Making an Investment in Training

Ogiale’s attitude toward her workforce has led her to invest heavily in training and advancement opportunities. Unlike most of the country, Washington State requires entry-level home care aides (HCAs) to complete basic training upon hire. (HCAs are often called personal care aides.) As of 2011, the basic training hours required have increased from 28 to 75 hours, the current minimum standard set by the federal government for the more advanced position of home health aide.

Ogiale has not just complied with the basic training requirement: She has also been a leader in developing a statewide training program through the SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership.

As one of the original trustees of the Training Partnership, Ogiale, together with other members of the Trustee Board, worked closely with its executive director, Charissa Raynor, to design a curriculum that met the needs of the clients, employees, and employers.


 

“Frontline workers are the most important part of our business.”
Stella Ogiale, President/CEO


The SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership: An independent 501(c)3 non-profit school, the SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership was formed by SEIU Healthcare 775NW along with more than 20 employers of home care aides and the state of Washington.

Most, but not all, of the Training Partnership’s students work for employers that are covered by an SEIU contract. That includes the state, which is the employer of record for home care aides working in the independent providers (IPs) program providing Medicaid personal care services. The state’s IP workforce makes up 75 percent of the Training Partnership’s students. Chesterfield is the third-largest employer in the Training Partnership.

Most, but not all, of the Training Partnership’s students work for employers that are covered by an SEIU contract. That includes the state, which is the employer of record for home care aides working in the independent providers (IPs) program providing Medicaid personal care services. The state’s IP workforce makes up 75 percent of the Training Partnership’s students. Chesterfield is the third-largest employer in the Training Partnership.

Since it was launched in 2010, the Training Partnership has provided entry-level personal care training to over 40,000 workers, including all HCAs that started working with Chesterfield in the last year. All of Chesterfield’s existing HCAs took their 10 hours of mandated in-service training (called continuing education in Washington) with the Training Partnership as well. Classroom locations are scattered throughout the state, making access relatively easy.

Revenue for the training partnership comes from contributions by employers and the state of Washington as employer of record. Basic training and continuing education are free to students, who also receive their regular wages while attending classes.


 

“We invest in our caregivers by providing them first-class training, empowering them,
and recognizing that they are not all destined to be aides forever.”
Stella Ogiale, President/CEO


Entry-Level Curriculum: The Training Partnership’s new 75-hour curriculum (called Home Care Aide Basic Training), which draws on the PHI Personal Care Services curriculum, is designed to be delivered in a highly interactive, adult learner-centered format. Key content areas in the 20-module curriculum include: Working with Consumers, Supporting Consumers at Home, Self Care, Body Mechanics, and Activities of Daily Living. In addition, four of the modules are population-specific: Working with people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, dementia, and physical disabilities. HCAs select the track that is most relevant to their client population.

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