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just 17,400 new po­si­tions in the next decade, re­searchers pre­dict.

Roughly nine in 10 care­taker po­si­tions are held by women. Nearly half iden­tify as black or Latino.

Work­ers in these roles share one cen­tral mis­sion: They care for peo­ple who strug­gle to care for them­selves. But many of these work­ers live in poverty, and most have lit­tle or no paid time off.

“They’re typ­i­cally the bread­win­ners in low-in­come house­holds,” said Ari­ane Hegewisch, a la­bor econ­o­mist at the In­sti­tute for Women’s Pol­icy Re­search who co-wrote a study pub­lished last year about low-wage jobs filled by women. “But what they earn makes it hard for them to pay the rent, or get an ed­u­ca­tion to move into bet­ter pay­ing jobs, or look af­ter their chil­dren.”

More than half of home health aides — 55 per­cent — sub­sist on in­comes be­low 200 per­cent of the fed­eral poverty line, her re­search found. They tend to rely on pub­lic ben­e­fits and lack the re­sources to set their chil­dren on an eco­nom­i­cally bet­ter path, she said.

Hegewisch said pol­i­cy­mak­ers need to pay at­ten­tion to this grow­ing group of work­ers.

“If these jobs work well, the over­all health sys­tem and so­cial care sys­tem can save a lot of money,” she said.

Hegewisch has pro­posed us­ing Medi­care dol­lars to sup­ple­ment care­givers’ wages, ar­gu­ing it would re­duce turnover and save the gov­ern­ment money by keep­ing the el­derly and the sick out of nurs­ing homes. Nurs­ing homes tend to be much costlier drains on the health sys­tem than home care.

Deme­tra Nightin­gale, a se­nior fel­low at the Ur­ban In­sti­tute, a left-lean­ing Wash­ing­ton, D.C., think tank, said de­mand for home health aides and per­sonal care aides will con­tinue to sky­rocket as the U.S. pop­u­la­tion ages.

“We have a lot of these low-wage jobs, and we’re go­ing to need a lot of these low-wage jobs in the fu­ture,” she said.

Pres­i­dent Trump has said he aims to ex­pand ap­pren­tice­ships in the United States, and Nightin­gale said she hopes to see sim­i­lar op­por­tu­ni­ties for do­mes­tic care­tak­ers. Los An­ge­les and Seat­tle both have ro­bust — and repli­ca­ble — paid train­ing pro­grams, she said.

“We need to pro­vide ca­reer lad­ders for peo­ple who can meet the grow­ing de­mand,” Nightin­gale said.

Ad­vo­cates for these work­ers also push for rais­ing the min­i­mum wage and a na­tional paid parental leave plan so that aides could af­ford to take time off to care for a sick child or re­cover af­ter a birth.

Ivanka Trump, the pres­i­dent’s daugh­ter and ad­vi­sor, has pro­posed open­ing paid leave to low-in­come work­ers through the na­tion’s un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance sys­tem. But the idea hasn’t gained trac­tion on Capi­tol Hill.

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