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Online Tool Started in WA Matches Care Workers with People in Need

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Friday, November 11, 2022   

An online tool that started in Washington state is connecting caregivers and the people who need their services, and it's getting some national recognition for its work tackling this issue.

The MIT Solve Global Challenges is a marketplace for ideas that has recognized the nonprofit Carina for its "care matching" program. The organization's chief executive, Nidhi Mirani, said technology can't solve all the issues in the caregiving space, but it can play a role.

"For any worker who wants to work and for any family who needs care and needs to find a worker near them who's available, that's something that is immediately solvable," she said, "and so that's really what Carina targets."

Mirani also is part of MIT Solve Global Challenge's inaugural class of Black and Brown innovators. She noted that the care industry faces a number of issues right now, including a caregiver shortage and a tough economy for many families and workers.

Carina is different from other technology innovations. Mirani said cooperation with unions is a big piece of their model.

"We're really working in partnership with both labor and government," she said, "so we're not just trying to break into a market. We want to work with entities that have been in it for the long term and who have a lot of infrastructure already in place, so that we can reach people who need care the most as quickly as possible."

Mirani also noted that care workers in Washington state with the union SEIU 775 helped kickstart Carina.

"They were bargaining with the State of Washington to find a solution on how to get to full-time work," she said, "and so they really won that in their bargaining process and created the initial funding stream and idea for Carina."

Carina currently matches people with home-care services in New York, Oregon and Washington, and child care services in California, Connecticut, Illinois and Washington. Mirani said the nonprofit is in talks to expand to other states.

Disclosure: Disclosure: SEIU 775 Benefits Group contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, and Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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