Free Job Training and Incentives Now Available for California Caregivers


WHY IT MATTERS: California is continuing to build its health care workforce. This new program allows caregivers for older adults and adults with disabilities the chance to get free job training and earn up to $6,000 in incentives.

SACRAMENTO – To continue to build California’s health care workforce, the California Department of Aging (CDA) is announcing the launch of the CalGrows workforce training and development program. Beginning today, CalGrows is open for registration with hundreds of courses available to caregivers working with older adults and adults with disabilities, helping support Californians on a path to a career in health care and ensuring the state retains highly-qualified health care workers.

“Investing in and growing our health care workforce is critical to the health and safety of Californians,” said Governor Newsom. “As the entire United States faces a health care worker shortage, the CalGrows initiative is yet another tool California is using to ensure our health care workforce remains strong by providing opportunities to those already caring for loved ones.”

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: CalGrows is grounded in the recognition that direct care jobs can be a gateway into a variety of personal and professional advancement opportunities. The innovative program brings together dozens of training providers offering hundreds of virtual and in-person courses for caregivers across California. Courses cover a range of topics, including Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia, Cultural Diversity, Food Safety, Infection Control, Provider, and Consumer communication and more, with courses available in multiple languages.

“CalGrows training courses empower caregivers across California to learn valuable skills to improve the lives of those in their care and help further their careers,” said Susan DeMarois, Director of the California Department of Aging. “As California’s population ages, we’ll need hundreds of thousands more direct care workers. The CalGrows program is an important milestone toward ensuring the state has the home care aides, care managers, dementia care specialists, activities coordinators, and other important roles necessary to support our aging population.”

“Care workers are more likely to be women and people of color, who are also at a higher risk for age-related illnesses,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health & Human Services Agency. “CalGrows demonstrates the State’s commitment to support caregivers, as well as those they care for, by providing training in six languages at launch, with more added soon, as well as career growth opportunities. This program is essential to help California achieve our goals in the Master Plan for Aging: to build a California for all ages and abilities.”

PROGRAM DETAILS: CalGrows can help build individual skill sets, job satisfaction, and growth opportunities to help further careers and the retention of skilled, experienced caregivers for older adults and people with disabilities. Qualified applicants can also receive up to $6,000 in financial incentives.

Free training for paid direct care workers, Home and Community-Based Services caregivers, and unpaid family and friend caregivers is available through the CalGrows website at Most courses are available online, with others offered in person and are searchable by topic, location, language, and incentive. Caregivers in the paid direct care workforce are also eligible for financial incentives and career pathway development benefits.

Through the CalGrows Innovation Fund grants launched earlier this year, $89 million was awarded to 78 organizations across California. Grants were awarded to diverse organizations with innovative ideas to offer training and incentives for the direct care Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) workforce and unpaid family and friend caregivers. For self-directed care workers through In Home Supportive Services (IHSS), optional training and compensations for training time are available through IHSS Career Pathways.

BIGGER PICTURE: The Workforce for a Healthy California Initiative is part of the state’s broader strategy to build a health workforce that represents California’s diverse communities and provides people with the quality care they deserve, while addressing the growing workforce shortages throughout the state’s health and human services system. The cornerstone of the Initiative comes from a once-in-a-generation, $1 billion plus investment from the 2022-23 state budget.