Camden, NJ, November 18, 2010. Care Source Adult Services, headed by Sandra Batdorf, cares for mentally and physically-impaired individuals enabling them to remain independent in their homes. When Batdorf started her business in 2006, she recognized Camden’s potential to supply a labor pool of caregivers. The Rutgers-Camden Business Incubator, which encourages entrepreneurs to locate their businesses in Camden by offering low-cost office and conference space, technical support and mentoring, also saw an opportunity. Care Source would not only create jobs for Camden residents, but they would also train people for those jobs. Four years after the partnership between Care Source and Rutgers-Camden Business Incubator was established, Care Source has created 49 jobs, more than any other incubator company, and has trained many more people for careers as caregivers.
“Our mission is to attract businesses and help them to get off the ground,” says Suzanne Zammit, Rutgers-Camden Business Incubator Manager. “We work with early-stage companies through four years to foster economic development in the city. Care Source has created the most jobs of any of our incubator companies and they employ mostly Camden residents. Not only that, but they do a fabulous job training people as caregivers and home health aides. Once trained, they can work for Care Source or another agency.”
Jobs and training are critical to a city with high unemployment and the low schooling levels. Camden city’s unemployment rate in August was 18.6%i, almost twice the national level. This figure underestimates the problem as it does not include those who have become discouraged and stopped looking for a job. Also, according to CamConnect, an organization that provides access to data on Camden, almost half of the Camden residents (49%) do not have a high school education. This, of course, limits their options when it comes to job hunting.
Batdorf provides low-cost training for people to become caregivers, Certified Home Health Aides (CHHAs) and Certified Companion Aides (CCA). Once people have learned the skills of caring for others, they gain self esteem and an opportunity to earn a living in a field that’s blossoming. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, the home-care field is among the fastest growing in the nation, with a 46 percent expansion predicted from 2008 to 2018. The expected growth is due mostly to the projected rise in the number of elderly people, an age group that often has health problems and needs assistance with daily activities.
Besides needing caregivers to help her clients, Batdorf has two other motivations to train others. First, she wants to pass on her caring philosophy. Second, she believes in giving others the opportunity afforded by education. “The elderly should live fulfilling lives in their homes as long as they want to,” she says. “They should have dignity, choice, and a feeling of self reliance. Whether my trainees work for me or another in-home care company, I feel better knowing that those in need are being cared for according to my principals. Also, when I was young, I was always supported by my family and they gave me the advantage of education. I want to give others the same opportunity through teaching. Some Camden residents may not have good reading skills or might be challenged by a second language, but that does not mean they are not intelligent. They deserve a chance. My belief is: if you know it, you should share it.”
Gloria Rodriquez, from Puerto Rico, studied under Batdorf and received her license as a caregiver from the State of New Jersey. She is appreciative of how Batdorf accommodated her limited English by talking slowly. “I am very happy and grateful that Care Source gave me the opportunity to get my license so I can have a good job,” she says. “I was able to grow and achieve something I never dreamed of.” Rodriquez cares for David Diaz, a veteran who suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). He is bed bound with a ventilator and appreciates the benefits he receives from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). “I’ve been blessed to have Gloria help me because she goes the extra mile. She’s understanding and I like her,” says Diaz. Sandra Batdorf and her son, Ron, also visit Diaz periodically. Ron Batdorf Sr., who like Diaz is Veteran, enjoys weekly phone conversations with him. Diaz explains that “it feels more like one family helping another than a sterile professional arrangement.”
Care Source Adult Services offers home health and companion aide services in Camden, Gloucester, Salem Counties and surrounding areas. Caregivers, CHHAs and CNAs provide assistance with errands, transportation to doctors, medication reminders, housekeeping, laundry, grooming, dressing, bathing and safety monitoring and more. To learn more about their services or caregiver training programs, call 1-888-239-3162 or visit http://www.avastcare.com/.
i U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics