Immigrants are key to Arizona long-term care workforce, says head of health association

Published: Monday, February 5, 2024 - 5:45am

Direct care workers labor in long-term care settings and are, predominantly, women of color. In Arizona, about a quarter of them are also immigrants.  

David Voepel is CEO of the Arizona Health Care Association, which represents skilled nursing facilities. 

"We work with the various refugee programs throughout the state, trying to bring in refugees or even immigrants to come into long-term care through the CNA program, Certified Nursing Assistant Program."

Many caregivers are from the Philippines, Ethiopia and, more recently, he says, Ukraine. Voepel says they also cover the cost of English classes. 

"I think the hardest part for the refugee program is learning English, and taking a multiple choice test in English, because most other countries don't do multiple choice tests," Voepel said.

Bottom line, he says, without immigrants there wouldn't be a caregiving workforce.

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