California GROWs – CDA’s Direct Care Workforce Initiative

The California GROWs (CalGrows) initiative is CDA’s Direct Care Workforce Training and Stipends Program that will incentivize, support, and fund career pathways for the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) workforce (non-IHSS). CalGrows seeks to provide the foundation for many positive outcomes in HCBS, including increased skills, satisfaction, retention, and career development opportunities for direct care workers.

Program Components

CalGrows will include a multi-pronged approach to improving the skills, recruitment, and retention of the direct care workforce sector.

  • The CalGrows program will leverage the IHSS Career Pathways Program, enabling CalGrows program participants access to the curriculum offered through the IHSS training pathways, including participation stipends.
  • The CalGrows Innovation Fund will provide grants to fund novel approaches to training, recruitment, and retention. Organizations will have the opportunity to apply for funding to meet the specialized and culturally competent needs of California’s home and community-based Direct Care Workforce. The Innovation Fund totals approximately $55 million.
  • A training inventory, referred to as the Learning and Innovations Institute, will be designed to provide consistent information about accessible training opportunities statewide.

Each participant in the program will have access to a coach who will guide them through the program.

Target Population

The target population will include non-IHSS direct care workers who provide direct support to Medi-Cal recipients in the home and community, including home care aides, unlicensed social workers, personal care assistants, activities coordinators, care coordinators, community health workers, and transportation providers.

Program Timeline

Innovation Fund Request for Applications (RFA) Open: November 2022
RFA’s Due: December 2022
Access to free training courses for direct care workers: January 2023
Innovation Fund Launch: February 2023

Previous Meeting Information:

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Application Portal


If you are a CalGrows Innovation Fund grantee and have fiscal, contracting, and/or program-related questions, please call (916) 931-1932.

If you are a direct care worker participating in the CalGrows program and need assistance, please call (844) 769-9119.