Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

New Referral Service Will Help Link Care Providers and People with Disabilities in Dane County

July 02, 2003
David W. Carlson, 608-242-6424 Leonila Vega, SEIU, 414-355-5150 x 20 Eric Parker, WRTP, 414-217-3158
County Executive

Direct-care workers who provide in-home services, and the older adults and people with disabilities they serve, will find it easier to connect with one another thanks to a $25,000 grant Dane County has received from the state Department Health and Family Services. The money will be used to form a cooperative referral system for direct-care workers and consumers in partnership with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 150 and the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP). WRTP is an association of employers and unions that sponsors programs that expand employment and advancement opportunities. “This initiative will match direct-care workers, who are looking for additional work, with people who may have urgent need for in-home care because their worker has left or is on vacation,” said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. “Direct care workers are in short supply and we know from experience that these people are more likely to remain in this field if we can help them to find additional work.” WRTP will employ a referral coordinator and act as a consultant for the project. SEIU and WRTP will also provide an additional $13,062 in matching funds for the $38,062 initiative. To participate in the program, direct care workers will complete an application summarizing their qualifications and preferred work schedules. The referral coordinator will provide consumers with the name and contact information of providers at the top of the list who appear to meet their needs. The goal of the program is to make at least three qualified referrals to 162 consumers between July 2003 and July 2004. "SEIU Local 150 looks forward to working with Dane County in this project to continue to find ways to serve the residents of Dane County to improve their ability to live as independently as possible in the community with appropriate long-term care supports," said Leonila Vega, Home Care Director for SEIU. WRTP Executive Director Eric Parker said, “We are pleased to assist Dane County and SEIU Local 150 with this innovative project to address the needs of direct-care workers and consumers. We offer our expertise in building effective partnerships between employers, unions, workforce development agencies, and educational institutions." Falk said, “This initiative will help us provide more continuity and better service to our Dane County citizens who depend on these programs to help them with the tasks of daily living they need to be able to live in their homes and the community.” ###
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