Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Certified Direct Care Professional (CDCP)

A free program that teaches skills and offers job opportunities

Do you want to make life better for older adults and people who have a disability? You can help by providing care.

DHS has developed a new program to train Certified Direct Care Professionals (CDCP). Workers can gain marketable skills that apply from one employer to another without retraining. The goal is to certify at least 10,000 new workers in the profession of direct care. Visit to learn more.

The curriculum was developed (PDF) after an extensive amount of research and stakeholder input. DHS participated in the 2021 CMS Direct Service Workforce Learning Collaborative.

DHS and its academic partner, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, also conducted national research on core competencies for direct care workers and conducted listening sessions with stakeholders and direct care workers. In addition, a survey was sent to key stakeholders that received more than 500 responses. 

This training prepares job seekers to enter the caregiving workforce. It's the first step on a career ladder that offers future opportunities and growth. 

Start your CDCP career

Participants in the CDCP program will:

  • Receive free online training and certification testing
  • Be eligible to earn bonuses up to $500
  • Become qualified to work in a variety of settings
  • Connect with employers across Wisconsin
  • Learn essential skills to succeed in a caregiving career
  • Be added to the Wisconsin Certified Direct Care Professional Registry

Download the program fact sheet: English (PDF) | Hmong (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)

What does a CDCP do?

The role of a CDCP may include, depending on individual needs:

  • Helping with personal care, like bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, moving, toileting, and exercising
  • Providing supportive home care, such as supervision and monitoring, household tasks like laundry or yard work, as well as running errands and accompanying the participant on outings

Workplace opportunities for CDCPs include:

  • Home and community-based services (HCBS)
  • Nonmedical in-home care
    One-on-one care (IRIS)
  • 1-2 bed adult family home
  • 3-4 bed adult family home
  • Community-based residential care facilities (CBRF)

Now available: WisCaregiver Connections

A one-stop career resource for employers and job seekers

With the launch of the Certified DCP program, candidates who earn certification will be able to connect with potential employers through our new, expanded workforce platform, WisCaregiver Connections.

We are now recruiting eligible agencies to join our free provider directory. This will make it easy for CDCPs to connect with employers after completing their training. Eligible providers/agencies are those that serve HCBS participants enrolled in programs such as Family Care, Partnership, IRIS, PACE, or Children's Long-Term Support and fee-for-service (FFS) providers who serve HCBS participants.

The platform allows employers to:

  • Post job openings
  • Automatically match with job seekers
  • Screen candidate profiles and credentialing details

Plus, when you join the registry, your current staff will also be eligible to become CDCPs and receive bonuses, too!

Providers: join WisCaregiver Connections

WisCaregiver Careers CNA Program

WisCaregiver Careers CNA is a workforce development program. It addresses the shortage of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in the state by supporting recruitment, training, and retention of individuals to care for nursing home residents across Wisconsin. The program is administered by the Wisconsin Health Care Association and LeadingAge Wisconsin. It offers:

  • Free nurse aide training
  • Free nurse aide certification testing
  • $500 retention bonus after six months of employment as a nurse aide

To learn more or to register for the program, visit WisCaregiver Careers CNA or contact a participating employer nursing home directly. FoodShare recipients can also join the program through their local FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) agency.

In 2016, Wisconsin’s chief economist warned of a looming shortage in the health care workforce. At the time, nursing homes reported one in seven caregiver positions were unfilled. Wisconsin’s Division of Quality Assurance and Division of Medicaid Services created the WisCaregiver Careers Program to help fill this gap.

WisCaregiver Careers launched in 2018 to attract and keep nurse aides in the state’s workforce. To do that, the program costs were lowered and training was made more accessible. Today, this successful program has been expanded to increase its impact and reach.

Civil Money Penalty (CMP) Reinvestment Program Grant, 2018-2021

DHS used this grant to help launch the WisCaregiver Careers program in 2018. It also received federal approval to invest $2.3 million in the program. Read about the success of the WisCaregiver Careers Program, P-02531 (PDF)

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Fast Forward/CMP Grant, 2020-2022

Under this grant, DHS partnered with the Wisconsin Health Care Association and LeadingAge Wisconsin to address the CNA shortage in state nursing homes. Through the partnership, new workers were offered free training, certification testing, and sign-on or retention bonuses.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Grant, 2022-2024

A $6 million investment, funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Nursing Home & Long-term Care Facility Strike Team program, will expand the current program, including recruiting qualified employers to host new CNA training slots. Funds will support employee recruitment and success through retention bonuses, employer reimbursement, success bonuses, and mentorships.

Last revised November 13, 2023