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Gov. Walz Calls For Higher Home Care Worker Wages After Spending Day With PCA

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Governor Tim Walz rolled up his sleeves to spend a day in the life of a Minnesota home care worker.

The governor says the state needs to invest to allow people with disabilities to stay in their own homes.

WCCO's Reg Chapman takes us inside the intimate work that thousands of Minnesotans are waiting to receive.

Governor Tim Walz ditched his suit for clothes more suitable for helping home care worker Deb take care of her client Jay.

'Walk-a-day with an HHA' is the governor's way of drawing attention to a profession that is needed to keep Minnesotans with challenges in their homes and out of institutions.

Currently, there are more than 8,000 job openings for home care workers.

"So we are going to start with the deodorant first, hold those arms up Jay," PCA Deb Howze said.

Thousands of Minnesotans are waiting for a home health aide. Jay is an Army veteran with MS.

The only way he can stay home with his wife and kids is with Deb's help.

"Of course $13.25 an hour is not enough to pay my bills and I am a single person," Howze said.

Pay for home health aids recently increased from $12 to $13.25 an hour. Even with these gains, many Minnesotans still wait for someone to help them live with dignity.

"This is a compassionate state, we've got people willing to do this, we need to make sure I say this all the time about our budgets, they're not fiscal documents they are moral documents. They are a reflection of our values," Walz explained. "I think you are going to see these folks coming back and asking us, asking Minnesotans to make an investment in this profession, to make an investment in Jay's quality of life."

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents $25,000 home health aides.

The governor hopes highlighting what they do will help them earn what they consider a living wage.

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