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Building Workforce Data Infrastructure

A need for data

Accurate, timely data is critical to answering key questions about the workforce and driving data-informed policy decisions to improve the quality of and access to HCBS for the millions of Americans who are receiving or need these services. Additional data are needed to better understand the workforce and emerging trends, and to quantify linkages between workforce investments and quality outcomes, both for workers and individuals receiving services. Filling these gaps requires engagement from many entities, including the federal government, states, the research community, non-profits, and private sector businesses, who all have an important role to play in building this data infrastructure.

President Biden’s April 2023 executive order, Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers, directed the Secretary of Labor (DOL) and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “conduct a review to identify gaps in knowledge about the home- and community-based workforce serving people with disabilities and older adults; identify and evaluate existing data sources; and identify opportunities to expand analyses, supplement data, or launch new efforts to provide important data on the home- and community-based care workforce and ensure equity for people with disabilities and older adults.”


In response, HHS and DOL established the Home and Community-Based Services Federal Opportunities Regarding Workforce and Research Data (HCBS FORWARD) workgroup. Over the past year, the workgroup, led by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at HHS, met to identify key policy questions on the HCBS workforce to establish data priorities, analyze existing data sources on this workforce, and identify ways to fill critical gaps in knowledge.

This effort was driven by a focus on policy and data needed to support the workforce, meet the growing demand for these workers, improve access to high-quality services, and track the impacts of policy changes over time. The recommendations identified by the workgroup were informed by essential input from people with disabilities, older adults, and their families; HCBS workers, including those providing self-directed care; unions; disability, aging, and labor advocacy and provider organizations; state leaders; and researchers.

Issue brief: Improving Data on the Workforce Delivering Home and Community-Based Services

On April 25, 2024, HHS and DOL jointly released an issue brief, Improving Data on the Workforce Delivering Home and Community-Based Services, which summarizes the HCBS FORWARD workgroup’s recommendations to federal and state agencies, non-profit organizations, and research institutions to improve data infrastructure and information on the HCBS workforce.

Implementing these recommendations will bolster the data infrastructure needed to answer key questions about the HCBS workforce and drive data-informed policy decisions to improve the quality of and access to HCBS for the millions of Americans who are receiving or need these services.

Learn more

On Tuesday, May 21 at 1 p.m. (Eastern), ASPE and DOL, in collaboration with the DCW Strategies Center, will host a webinar to share highlights and recommendations from the issue brief. The webinar also will feature a discussion of the recommendations, as well as innovations from the field, by a panel of (non-federal) leaders and innovators in the field. Advance registration is required.

In the coming months, HHS and DOL will share additional resources, along with information about the ongoing work of the HCBS FORWARD workgroup here.

Last modified on 04/25/2024

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