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The Worker Institute brings together researchers, educators and students with practitioners in labor, business and policymaking to address issues related to confronting systemic inequality and building a fair economy, robust democracy and just society. We will share opinion, analysis, research, data, insights and training from our faculty and staff.

New Report: A ride-service program for homecare workers in Upstate New York provided substantial financial benefits

Cover High Rod for Health Care

Worker Institute, Cornell ILR School
September 29, 2021
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New Report: A ride-service program for homecare workers in Upstate New York during the pandemic provided substantial financial benefits and improved their quality of life

Homecare workers saved roughly 20% of their income with the ride service program

NATIONWIDE —  During the Covid-19 pandemic, frontline homecare workers have provided essential support to groups at high risk of isolation despite confronting low pay and other conditions that undermine their own wellbeing and economic security. Mostly women and disproportionately Black and brown, transportation issues are one factor affecting the work-life and take-home pay of home care workers. The dispersed locations of potential clients coupled with a lack of affordable transport options often limits caseloads and working hours.

A new study released today from Cornell’s ILR Worker Institute, “A High Road for Home Care: Program Assessment of the Healthcare Workers Rising Transportation Pilot,” examines a ride-service program for homecare workers in the upstate New York region that was launched during the height of the pandemic last year. Developed by Healthcare Workers Rising with support from the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Fund’s Ladders to Value Workforce Investment Organization, the innovative program provided free-of-cost transportation for workers in Buffalo, Rochester, and Niagara Falls to reach their clients..

Based on a survey of 92 program participants, in-depth interviews, and a focus group, the research indicates the value of such a program in improving job quality for workers and helping them to deliver consistent, high-quality care to clients. Key findings from the analysis include: 

  • Homecare workers saved $436/month on average - roughly 20% of their income for those working full-time hours - with the ride service program.
  • 95% of workers looking to add clients said the ride service helped them to do so.
  • 81% of homecare workers felt safer using the ride service. 
  • 72% of workers said they could spend more time with their families due to the ride service.
  • Focus group participants said having access to the program enabled them to be more attentive and dependable with clients.
  • Focus group participants indicated long-term access to such a program could help with recruitment and retention in the industry. 

“[With the program] I don’t have to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning to get to a case by 8 o’clock,” said program participant Salina Person. “And I appreciate … the opportunity to take full advantage of the ride system so that we can put our focus on ourselves so that when we get to our clients, we can give them 200 percent of good care versus just a regular 100 percent.”

“Home care workers have long suffered the consequences of underinvestment in the publicly funded system,” according to Sanjay Pinto, a fellow at the Worker Institute and a lead author on the study. “Institutionalizing this kind of program could make home care careers more sustainable and help ensure that the demand for these critical services can be met in the coming years.”

Click here to read the report. 


The Worker Institute at Cornell engages in research and education on contemporary labor issues, to generate innovative thinking and solutions to problems related to work, economy and society. The institute brings together researchers, educators and students with practitioners in labor, business and policymaking to confront growing economic and social inequalities, in the interests of working people and their families. For more about the Worker Institute, visit . Follow WI on Twitter @workerinstitute.

Healthcare Workers Rising is a growing movement of caregivers, clients, and community members who believe in the power of care.  Together, we can build a care system that works for everyone - ensuring both patients and workers are able to live healthy, happy lives. For more about Healthcare Workers Rising, visit Follow HWR on Facebook @healthcareworkersrising.


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