Find a job and Ownership Opportunity in Home Care
Demand for home care is at an all-time high, and home care agencies are growing at a rapid rate to meet this demand. This is because a huge portion of our population is getting older. We are entering a phase that is being called “the silver tsunami”, a metaphor that helps illustrate the many individuals that are aging and eventually will need care.
Entrepreneurs around the country, many of whom gained experience with home-based care while coordinating care for a loved one, are starting home care businesses. But did you know that as a caregiver, YOU have an opportunity to connect your dream of owning your own business with doing what you love?
Whether you are a veteran home care worker or just entering the field, you can join a home care cooperative and become a part owner of the place where you work!
Many of the caregivers working for our agency did not know much about worker-owned businesses and had very little understanding of how they worked. Even though many of us had been working for many years as caregivers, we had no idea we could also run the business.
What we did know was that we wanted to improve our working conditions and have dignity and respect at our workplace.
What is Cooperative Home Care?
Home care cooperatives are worker-owned home care businesses. They are structured to:
- Give decision-making power to the people that actually do the hard work – caregivers
- Improve the quality of life of caregivers and clients
- Provide support to caregivers
In a worker cooperative we, the care workers, are also involved in the leadership of the business. We get to grow into our ownership role in our cooperative as we begin to learn how it operates and where we can add value.
All owners are “members” and share an equal vote in important decisions that impact the business. Some members also decide to join the Board or to serve on various committees supporting member engagement and staff happiness, policy advocacy, peer mentorship and more.
How does it work?
A worker cooperative is structured around members or workers who are also the owners of the business. It is a democratically run business, one voice equals one vote.
If you are joining a cooperative that is already in business the process is easier. You start working as you would at any other home care agency, you get onboarded and an administrator at the cooperative will match you with a client according to your availability. Different cooperatives have different waiting periods for new caregivers to become members of the cooperative. Ask the cooperative you are joining how long you have to wait before becoming a member-owner. At CHCA, you can become a worker-owner after 3 months of employment.
Once you become a member-owner you will have voting power. There are member events, information sessions, and trainings you can begin to attend to learn about how your business is doing and what goals the cooperative has for strengthening the business.
It works differently if you’re starting your own home care cooperative or joining an existing one. If you’re starting your own then you will need to start from the beginning. That means finding a group of home care workers to incorporate into a legal business and setting up the business and the operations along state standards.
How do I get started?
The easiest way to get started into co-owning a home care cooperative is to join an existing home care cooperative, but you can also start your own if you live in an area that does not yet have one!
In the city of New York, Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA)is the only worker-owned home care agency that is set up to be led by the workers who provide services. Home care services are dominated by agencies that routinely undervalue their workers leading to burnout and disenfranchisement. Worker-owned home care cooperatives change that dynamic by centering caregiver voices and investing in job quality and satisfaction.
To learn more about home care cooperatives and explore opportunities to become a member-owner give us a call at 718-993-7014.