Essential Jobs, Essential Care™ New Jersey Coalition

Since 2022, the Essential Jobs Essential Care New Jersey Coalition has been working to transform direct care jobs in the state. We are 60+ organizations and individuals across New Jersey advocating for policy changes that support and grow the Direct Care Workforce (DCW) including home health aides, personal care aides, nurse aides, and direct support professionals. We believe that lifting up direct care roles is critical to meeting New Jerseyans’ eldercare and disability needs.

What’s the problem?

Throughout New Jersey—in private homes, nursing homes, and a variety of residential care settings—older adults and people with disabilities rely on more than 123,000 direct care workers to meet their daily needs and live healthy and fulfilling lives. Unfortunately, despite their enormous value, direct care workers struggle with low compensation, insufficient training, and limited career paths, which drive many workers out of this sector. Every day New Jerseyans are going without the care they need and workers are going without the high-quality employment they deserve.

The shortage of direct care workers in our state is becoming more dire at the same time our population is aging. To meet current needs and prepare for the future, the time to act is now.

What are our priorities?

The EJEC NJ Coalition has identified three priorities:

  • Increase access to training for direct care workers
  • Increase the pipeline of new direct care workers
  • Centralize credentialing and licensure of CHHAs and CNAs under one state agency.

How can you help?

We welcome all individuals and organizations interested in addressing the direct care workforce shortage in New Jersey.

Current coalition members are listed here

  • Learn more about the workforce, challenges, proposals and examples from other states - see below.
  • Reach out to us with your input and questions:

Cathy Rowe [email protected] / 609-421-0206

Jake McDonald [email protected] / 718-928-2061

Learn More About NJ's Direct Care Workforce

See PHI's report on the status of DCWs in NJ

Read our 1-pager on who makes up NJ's Direct Care Workforce & the settings in which they work.


 "Implementing the Action Plan

A Guidance Document to Recruit, Train, and 

Retain a Resilient and Diverse Health Care 

Workforce for New Jersey"

To learn more about this initiative, data on the NJ DCW, reports on the issue, progress made so far in NJ and examples from other states, go to Essential Jobs, Essential Care (

To learn more about PHI:

To learn more about NJAAW:

Essential Jobs, Essential Care NJ is led by New Jersey Advocates for Aging Well and PHI with generous support from

The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation