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CCA to provide caregiver training in San Bernardino County


Center for Caregiver Advancement Receives $10 Million Grant to Provide Free Training for Caregivers in San Bernardino County

Specialized training includes Alzheimer’s and related dementia care, emergency preparedness

San Bernardino, Calif. (May 18, 2023) – The Center for Caregiver Advancement (CCA) has been awarded a $10 million grant from the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to bring its caregiver training programs to In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers in San Bernardino County. The grant is part of CWDB’s HRTP Resilient Workforce Fund.

Through the grant, CCA will conduct a randomized control trial in partnership with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This will be the first RCT on IHSS training. Building on CCA’s existing research, the study will lay the foundation for policy change that will recognize worker specializations, improve worker retention, create advancement within the home care workforce, and secure long-term funding for caregiver training. JPAL will conduct the RCT on IHSS+ Basic training, while UC San Francisco will continue to study the impact of the Alzheimer’s care and Caregiver Resiliency Teams programs.

“As California prepares for demographic changes, including the growth of the 60-and-over population, it’s critical that we develop a direct care workforce that is adaptable and responsive to the State’s unique challenges,” said Tim Rainey, Executive Director of the California Workforce Development Board. “This grant recognizes the essential role that the caregiving workforce plays in ensuring Californians age with dignity and respect, and will positively impact both the job quality of caregivers, and the care they provide, in San Bernardino County.”

The training will be offered in two languages: English and Spanish. CCA’s IHSS training programs consist of successive classes over multiple weeks that build on each other to progressively develop participants’ skills. The IHSS Basic training program will have a total of 35 hours of learning, while the two specialized training programs will each have 15 hours of learning.

“CCA is thrilled to have been chosen to receive this grant from the CWDB. It will help us provide essential training and resources to caregivers in San Bernardino County, improving both quality of care for consumers and developing specialized skills for workers. Through the research that will come out of this grant, we have the potential to generate systems change that will positively impact half a million IHSS caregivers in California,” said Corinne Eldridge, President and CEO of the Center for Caregiver Advancement.

Access to CCA’s specialized training programs is critical to support older adults and people with disabilities in San Bernardino County. Alongside basic caregiver skill-building, CCA will offer Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia care training. Majority of the IHSS population in San Bernardino is Latino, and individuals of Hispanic origin have a higher prevalence of ADRD, with cases predicted to increase by 21% across the state. CCA has offered the Alzheimer’s care training in Alameda County since 2020, and has started offering it in Los Angeles County this spring.

The grant will also enable CCA to offer the Caregiver Resiliency Teams to San Bernardino’s IHSS providers. CCA developed the nation’s first climate-related emergency preparedness training for long-term care workers. Over 70% of San Bernardino County census tracts have high levels of pollution and are considered disadvantaged areas, according to the CalEnviroScreen index. The disproportionate environmental pollution that can lead to negative public health effects highlights the need for caregiver training. CCA’s Caregiver Resiliency program helps caregivers connect climate change with their roles as first responders, and helps them understand how climate change affects different communities.

CCA is the only organization within California utilizing evidence-informed curriculum that has already been tested and delivered to thousands of IHSS providers in California.

ABOUT CCA: The Center for Caregiver Advancement is the largest provider of training for caregivers in California and has trained more than 20,000 nursing home workers and in-home caregivers. advancecaregivers.org

Stepping Stone to a Nursing Career

Lizette Mendoza’s inspiration to pursue a career in the healthcare field comes from two main sources: the medical drama TV show “Grey’s Anatomy” and her mother who has been a caregiver for nine years. 

Lizette and her mother, Veronica, are currently training to become Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) through CCA’s CNA Registered Apprenticeship Program. Veronica, an IHSS provider, encouraged Lizette to enroll in the program and participate with her. 

The CNA Registered Apprenticeship Program is a free training program* that is designed to create a pathway for workers who are interested in becoming a CNA. The program provides a solution to the staffing crisis in the nursing home industry by placing highly trained CNAs in skilled nursing facilities who are well-versed in the facilities’ procedures and practices.

Although she knows that “Grey’s Anatomy” is not an accurate reflection of reality, Lizette admires how the characters in the show “were able to help people who are in trouble,” which is ultimately what she wants to do in her future role as a CNA. 

Participants in the CNA Registered Apprenticeship Program are not required to have any prior experience or education in healthcare. This seemed like the perfect option for Lizette. She opted for the apprenticeship program instead of a four-year college degree since it will allow her to begin her nursing career much sooner. “In such a short amount of time, you can actually get to be a CNA,” Lizette said. 

As part of the registered apprenticeship program, Lizette is currently working as a Nurse Aide at Paramount Convalescent Hospital (Sun Mar Healthcare). She is set to take her state exam in late April. Once she passes the exam and receives her certification, she will be promoted to CNA with a guaranteed wage increase. 

Participants in the CNA Registered Apprenticeship Program get to work in nursing home facilities while they complete the training. This allows them to put what they learn in class into practice. The hands-on learning is helpful for Lizette and her fellow apprentices to prepare for when they become CNAs, “so we actually know what we’re doing,” she said. 

She believes this program is helping her achieve her career goals. “Overall, it’s good. It’s a very stable job and I like helping people,” Lizette said. She said she would recommend the CNA Registered Apprenticeship Program to anyone and is excited for her future role as a CNA.  

For more information about the CNA Registered Apprenticeship Program, see our website or email edfund@advancecaregivers.org.

* subject to eligibility requirements

Training for autism, other complex health needs

The Center for Caregiver Advancement (CCA) now offers caregiver training courses that specialize in complex physical and mental health needs: autism spectrum disorder, diabetic care and nutrition, traumatic brain injury, and heart diseases and care.

All four learning pathways are part of CCA’s course catalog for the IHSS Career Pathways Program, a state initiative that funds training for California’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers. CCA is one of the approved training providers for this program. These four pathways join the six other training specializations CCA started offering in January.

Each pathway has six courses that are designed to help caregivers build strong foundational knowledge that is  condition-specific

The Autism Spectrum Disorder courses cover an overview of ASD and key terms and definitions, learning to identify signs and manage maladaptive behaviors, supporting ASD in different age groups, among others. The series concludes with a skills practice session, where participants can put everything they learned into practice through case scenarios.

Related story: Learning the language of autism

The Diabetic Care and Nutrition pathway discusses the different types of diabetes, how diabetes impacts different populations in the U.S., and the complications that can affect an individual’s overall health. Caregivers also learn how to support the person they’re caring for in the management of their Type 2 diabetes, particularly through proper nutrition and portion sizes. Emergency management and response is also covered, so that caregivers can recognize potential emergencies and learn the difference between an urgent versus emergency situation.

The Traumatic Brain Injury courses help caregivers define and describe the different types of TBI, identify risk factors and recognize the health disparities associated with them. They will learn how the injury affects a person’s everyday function and the caregivers’ role in the observation, monitoring and documentation of consequences. Emergency response is also covered.

The Heart Diseases and Care pathway discusses causes, prevalence and impact of heart attacks and heart failure. Caregivers will learn to identify common signs, symptoms, and risk factors; and learn preventative tools to help reduce risk of heart disease through lifestyle medications. Emergency response is also discussed, including the correct order of steps a caregiver needs to take when a person complains of chest pain.

Learning the language of autism

Before Rebekah Acosta transitioned to being her daughter’s full-time caregiver, she was already entrenched in the developmental disabilities community. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s in special education, and two teaching credentials. She taught special education for 10 years.

But to be a better caregiver for her daughter, who has autism spectrum disorder, Rebekah knows she needs more than her master’s degree.

One thing that can be hard is the advocacy piece … making sure that all the pieces fit together. Kind of take things from different doctors and synthesize them into her and her needs, making myself familiar with any new medical needs that she has. I kind of have to become like a mini expert on her,” Rebekah shared.

For the past two months, Rebekah has been immersing herself in caregiver training. Rebekah is one of the IHSS providers taking courses with CCA through the  IHSS Career Pathways Program. She has been focusing on CCA’s autism learning pathway, specifically because of her daughter.

Related story: Caregiver training for autism, other complex health needs

“…the classes really taught me how to analyze what my daughter needs and integrate that into what I do every day with her,” she said. The autism pathway is tailored for what Rebekah and her daughter need.

CCA’s Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) courses cover an overview of ASD and key terms and definitions, learning to identify signs and manage maladaptive behaviors, supporting ASD in different age groups, among others. The series concludes with a skills practice session, where participants can put what they learned into practice through case scenarios.

Photo by Watchara Phomicinda

Caregivers like her, Rebekah said, “over time, become an expert on their child. When you have a child with a disability, you’re just kind of thrown into it. And as a parent, as a caregiver, you have doctors being like, ‘Well, you’re mom, you have to make the decision.’ And it can be kind of daunting.”

The autism care training helps familiarize caregivers with the terminology used by medical care professionals. This gives them the confidence to be decision makers and active participants in the care planning, Rebekah said.

With that in mind, Rebekah has been taking as many courses as she can with the Career Pathways Program. It’s a much-needed program for caregivers, she said.

Most other professions have continuing education opportunities, Rebekah said. This program gives “caregivers a chance to continue to have education and continue to build their knowledge base throughout their career. I know people think differently, but it’s still a career to be a caregiver.”

Caregiving strengthens mother-son bond

Perri Kendrick and her son Trevor have an unbreakable bond. They do almost everything together: ice skating with Perri pushing Trevor’s wheelchair on skates, watching TV while Perri exercises on her stationary bike, or hosting friends at their home like they do several times a week. They are truly an inseparable duo. Not only is Perri his mother, but she is also Trevor’s full-time caregiver. 

As Trevor’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provider, Perri recently completed CCA’s caregiver training program to help make herself “the best caregiver [she] could possibly be.” Just like they do almost everything else together, Perri and Trevor both learned and grew as a team during the 10-week training. 

Throughout the course, Perri said she learned essential caregiving tips that she originally overlooked due to the fact that she is caring for her own son, such as documentation, the use of gloves, and the proper way to wash hands. Trevor learned along with her. “He has learned that we are a team that has to work together because if we’re not going to keep each other healthy, then nobody else is,” Perri said

“Really, in my heart to know Trevor is to love Trevor,” Perri said

Photo by Kim Fox

Love is at the forefront of both Perri’s roles in Trevor’s life – as his caregiver and as his mother. “I think everything about taking care of Trevor is exhausting, but it’s so rewarding,” she said. “I absolutely love taking care of him.”

Trevor was born with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and was diagnosed when he was one year old. Since then, he has defied so many odds. “Doctors said that he wouldn’t live through the night, and then doctors said he wouldn’t live past 14,” Perri said. Trevor is now 38 years old, outliving his prognosis by 24 years. 

Trevor’s prognosis is not the only challenge that he and Perri had to overcome in his 38 years. As a direct result of his CP, Trevor is also non-verbal, Perri explained. Yet, that does not stop him from interacting with others and making new friends wherever he goes. He uses a communication device that is activated by auditory scans to produce phrases such as “Hey, how’s it going?” or “Hi, I’m Trevor, nice to meet you.”

Trevor uses this device to connect with others – something he truly enjoys. Perri said Trevor makes friends with anyone – from the waiters at restaurants, to community members at the grocery store and even with the local firefighters who attend his birthday parties every year.

When Perri began her caregiver training course, it was no surprise that when Trevor attended alongside her, he interacted with the other caregivers. “He went to every Saturday class and he was as excited about the classes as I was,” she said. “He had so much fun.” 

Perri shared that the course improved her life by teaching both her and Trevor to be more patient with one another. “I have learned this wasn’t his choice to have to be cared for and (now) I always try to put myself in his position. I think that just makes me do everything with more love,” she said. 

Caregivers Lifting Each Other Up

At her IHSS+ training graduation event last December, caregiver Michelle Galloway Blanco used a garden analogy to illustrate how she and her fellow caregivers flourished together throughout the course of their training. “We’re all roses, and in this group, we bloomed,” she told the group. “Roses keep growing forever, and they keep growing as long as you water them, right? So that’s what we do – we’re watering each other, we’re bringing each other up.” 

In the 10 weeks they attended class together, the caregivers empowered one another, learned from each other’s experiences, and grew together.

The Center for Caregiver Advancement’s (CCA) training programs for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers teach caregivers, such as Michelle and thousands of others, hands-on skills and situational knowledge that are proven to produce remarkable outcomes in their jobs. Results from post-training surveys report that 98 percent of program participants were either satisfied or very satisfied with the training they received. Not only do these programs enhance and expand participants’ skills, they also provide a platform to connect with other caregivers.

The Fringe Benefit

In Michelle’s speech, she shared how she and her classmates were “bringing each other up.” Fellow caregiver Jennifer Ballesteros referred to this as a “fringe benefit” of her participation in the training. 

Feelings of isolation and depression are not uncommon for caregivers. This was a challenge that Jennifer noticed especially at the beginning of her caregiving career. “There’s no one to call, there’s no one to bounce back ideas or even reach out to,” Jennifer said. 

Most caregivers don’t have a support system, unlike other professions that typically involve working with a boss and colleagues. “When you’re dealing with caring for people, even if it’s your family, you get depressed, you feel singled out. You feel alone,” Michelle said.

The multiweek format of CCA’s courses gives caregivers the time and space to form friendships with one another. This creates a sense of community among the participants, which helps reduce caregiver isolation, loneliness, and depression

There is a sense of comfort “knowing that there are people out there to help people,” said IHSS provider Beth Wiener. 

A Platform to Connect, Share, and Grow 

CCA’s training courses are structured to include numerous opportunities for students to interact with one another and share their experiences and ideas. Many participants, including IHSS provider Shawn Sanders, agree that the interactive nature of the training was something they found truly beneficial. 

“These courses really helped me with [feeling less isolated]. It allowed me to interact and talk with other caregivers, which was very helpful,” she said. Shawn particularly enjoyed when her class would split into breakout groups on Zoom and discuss specific caregiving situations as part of the lesson.

“The training improved my life because it helped me interact with other people who are caregivers, and allowed me to be able to bounce some of my ideas off of others who are caregiving for other people as well,” Shawn said.

IHSS provider Perri Kendrick said that she and the other women in her class bonded very quickly. “They taught me that I’m not alone. And I’m not doing this by myself,” she said. 

Perri recalled missing one class session because her son, for whom she provides care, was in the hospital. She attended a make-up session with a different group. “I felt like it was my regular class because everybody was so engaging, so nice, and so comforting.” Perri described her overall participation in the course as “just the best experience.” 

Jennifer, who takes care of her mother, remarked how it was “pretty neat” to meet others who also take care of their aging parents. “[It] helped a lot to feel connected to a community that is doing the same thing that I’m doing, but just maybe in a different setting,” she said.  

Michelle enjoyed participating in the class discussions and sharing advice with her classmates. “You don’t feel so lonely when you have people in the same circle dealing with everything that you’re going through. They can give you their opinions and their suggestions just like I did for them,” Michelle said. 

At the end of the training, she and some of the caregivers in her class exchanged numbers. They have kept in contact ever since.

From Pilot to Caregiver

Former Airman and Engineer Shares the Value of Proper Training

When Carlos Martinez flew Boeing 767s as a commercial pilot years ago, he was responsible for the lives of more than a hundred passengers at a time. Before that, he ferried friends and family on a Cessna plane to all points across California. Later, as an aeronautics manufacturing engineer, he built critical parts for aircrafts, fighter jets, and space missions. But those days are long behind him. In his retirement, he now faces what he said is the most daunting job he’s ever had: being a caregiver.

“As a pilot, you train for every emergency. And as an engineer, you have checklists, procedures, simulations. Your whole career is preparing for that emergency situation, ok?,” Carlos said. “But as a caregiver? I had no training for that!”

Carlos is one of California’s more than 600,000 In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers caring for the state’s aging population and people with disabilities. He is the caregiver for two people in his family: his adult son, who has a chronic illness, and his mother, who is showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

He said being responsible for the life of two loved ones is proving to be more stressful and more intimidating than his time in the cockpit. All because there is no formal training required of caregivers. And until he heard of the Center for Caregiver Advancement’s free training, he didn’t even know there were any available for people like him.

Before enrolling in CCA’s training program, “I thought I knew what to do when I took over caregiving for my son. My wife showed me how to do it, and you know, some of it I thought was basic common sense when you’re taking care of somebody. Most of the time you’re doing things by routine,” he said.

But things changed when he started learning about topics like proper body mechanics, medication adherence, and assistance with daily living activities. Something clicked. “Why do you hold his head like that, why do you lift his body that way … Knowing ‘why’ you have to do things a certain way, it makes a lot of sense,” he said.

“You don’t know it was wrong the way you were doing it, until an instructor teaches you the right way.”

The training program he completed in December was a life-changer, he said. His son is an L.A. Care Health member, which made Carlos eligible for the IHSS+ Home Care Integration training program run by CCA in partnership with L.A. Care. The 10-week training reinforced some of the skills he already knew as a parent of a son whose childhood was marked by a chronic illness. But as a former pilot and aeronautics manufacturing engineer, he soaked in the lessons focusing on procedures and case scenarios. Each module included activities that invited the caregivers to discuss how to handle certain scenarios – such as knowing when to go to urgent care vs. the emergency room.

He is determined to participate in as many CCA courses as possible. Right now, he is enrolled in several of the classes offered by CCA through California’s IHSS Career Pathways Program. He has signed up for all the courses under the Alzheimer’s care learning pathway, so he can be better equipped as his mother’s caregiver.

“Every profession has a checklist. With Alzheimer’s, there must be a procedure. I want to learn that procedure: what to expect (as the disease progresses), how to talk to her, what to do … all of that,” he said.

He urges all caregivers, whether they are caring for family or consumers as an IHSS provider, to sign up for training. “It’s great that the state is now funding training for caregivers,” he said. “I’m taking advantage of as many opportunities as I can to learn.”

CCA to present at 2023 On Aging conference

The Center for Caregiver Advancement is proud to be one of the presenters at the American Society on Aging’s 2023 On Aging conference on March 27-29 in Atlanta, Georgia. This is the nation’s largest multidisciplinary conference on aging and brings together experts on issues affecting the elderly population.

CCA will host the session “Caregiver Resiliency: Training Long-Term Care Workers to Prepare for, Respond to, and Recover from Climate-Related Emergencies,” focusing on how we are training caregivers on climate-change emergency preparedness and community resilience. This session will discuss CCA’s Caregiver Resiliency Project, and the unique training program designed to increase emergency response knowledge with a focus on climate change-related situations.

The panelists for this session will discuss how partnerships developed through the project will lay the foundation necessary for system change conversations around recognizing worker specializations and translating those skills into higher wages. The panelists will include Corinne Eldridge, CCA President & CEO; Moraima Castañeda, CCA Director of Home Care Programs; Syuzanna Petrosyan, CCA Senior Director of Nursing Home Programs; Greg Thompson, Executive Director, PASC-LA; and Dereck Smith, Executive Vice President, SEIU Local 2015.

CCA will also participate with UC San Francisco in “The IHSS+ ADRD Training Project: Bolstering California’s Caregiver Workforce” session spotlighting the evaluation study being conducted by our research partner UCSF’s Institute on Aging on the impact of Alzheimer’s care training on caregivers.

Thousands sign up for Alzheimer’s care courses in Career Pathways Program


Center for Caregiver Advancement Addresses Urgent Need for Caregiver Training Through Career Pathways Program

Thousands sign up for free training, offered in eight languages;
Alzheimer’s care courses are the most in-demand

Los Angeles, CA – Responding to the urgent need for a highly trained workforce that will take care of California’s aging and disabled population, caregivers are signing up by the thousands for the free training offered by the Center for Caregiver Advancement (CCA) through the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Career Pathways Program. The program is part of the state’s Master Plan for Aging roadmap, which includes evidence-based, specialized caregiver training as one of its top priorities in the next two years.

CCA is the only organization utilizing evidence-based curriculum that has already been tested and delivered to more than 10,000 caregivers in California. The curriculum for the Career Pathways Program is based on CCA’s existing training on Alzheimer’s and dementia care (IHSS+ ADRD), emergency preparedness and community resilience (Caregiver Resiliency Teams), and basic skills (IHSS+). CCA has also developed new training content for diabetes, traumatic brain injury, and autism care.

“With California’s population aged 65+ expected to grow to 10.8 million by 2030, the need for training caregivers has never been more urgent,” says Corinne Eldridge, CCA President and CEO. “CCA has been a pioneer of an equity-driven movement for quality training for over two decades. We are proud to partner with the California Department of Social Services in making training accessible to paid caregivers in the state. The Career Pathways Program will bring advancement opportunities to the workforce, which will help attract and retain workers.”


Recognizing the cultural and linguistic diversity of this workforce, CCA’s classes for the state initiative are offered in eight languages (English, Spanish, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Armenian and Russian). CCA is the only training provider offering courses in this many languages.

“The majority of caregivers are women of color and immigrants who are fluent in languages other than English. We ensure that they can take our training in the language that they will be most successful in,” says Eldridge. “We know from our long history in the field and studies of our impact that our training can lead to higher retention, skills gain and higher quality care because caregivers have the knowledge and confidence to be successful in their jobs, leading to better health outcomes for consumers.”


CCA’s classes for the Career Pathways Programfilled within days of opening registration. The most popular courses were part of the Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (ADRD) learning pathway, with more than 3,000 IHSS providers signing up for the ADRD courses and joining the waitlist in January.

IHSS provider Carlos Martinez registered for multiple classes in the ADRD learning pathway because he wants to know what to expect as his mother goes through the stages of Alzheimer’s. “I want to understand the ‘why’ of many of the things we do as caregivers. Most of the time you think you know what to do because it’s routine, or you watched somebody do it. But it’s different when an instructor teaches you the right way,” he says. “It’s great that the state is now involved with funding training for caregivers.”

Long an advocate for caregiver advancement, CCA worked with SEIU Local 2015 to advance a statewide workforce development initiative for long-term care workers. That advocacy work led to the inclusion of $200 million in California’s Senate Bill 172 for the IHSS Career Pathways Program. The initiative is part of a historic $2.5 billion investment in the direct care workforce under California’s Master Plan for Aging.

ABOUT CCA: The Center for Caregiver Advancement is the largest provider of training for caregivers in California and has trained more than 20,000 nursing home workers and in-home caregivers. Founded in 2000 by the long-term care workers who are now members of SEIU Local 2015, CCA provides quality educational opportunities including free classes for in-home caregivers and nursing home workers to help them build better lives for themselves and the people they serve. advancecaregivers.org


Pia Orense

Taking care of the care workers

When your job is to care for others, it is especially important to prioritize your own health and well-being. Developing self-care practices can prevent burnout and improve your physical and emotional well-being. That is why our partner organization, HCAP, is offering a free workshop all about self-care for caregivers.

This 1.5 hour workshop is completely online and will cover the following topics: 

  • What is self-care?
  • Practical ways to deal with stress and challenges
  • Cost-effective tips, ideas, and exercises to try at home

The course will be taught in English with interpretation in seven (7) other languages. See below for the 2023 workshop dates: 

English with Interpretation in Spanish, Polish, and Russian

  • Saturday, Feb. 4, 10 am 
  • Wednesday, March 22, 4 pm 
  • Tuesday, April 25, 4 pm

English with Interpretation in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean:

  • Thursday, Feb. 23, 10 am
  • Friday, April 7, 10 am

English with Interpretation in Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese: 

  • Friday, March 3, 10 am
  • Thursday, April 20, 4 pm 

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