Leonila Vega Voices Institute

The Leonila Vega Voices Institute helps direct care workers, worker association and coalition staff, and other advocates develop their leadership, advocacy, and organizational development skills, so they can advocate more effectively for better direct care jobs.


The Direct Care Alliance selects direct care worker leaders for this intensive, week-long retreat, where they learn about advocacy, fundraising, organizational development, message development, and more.

The first Voices Institute National Leadership Program was held in May 2008. There have been three more highly successful national trainings since then.

State and Regional

The Voices Institute also offers state-based and regional trainings  to build and strengthen worker-led associations. These are usually a condensed version of the national training that last for two to three days. Locations have included New Mexico, Florida, Texas, Arizona and New York, where Voices Institute modules were incorporated into a program to improve the leadership skills of a select group of direct care workers so they can better advocate for improved working conditions, career advancement, and respect at the nursing homes where they work.

Changing the World

Voices Institute graduates are changing the world by:

  • Testifying before legislators;
  • Building relationships with lawmakers to raise their awareness of direct care worker issues;
  • Putting on conferences for their worker associations;
  • Launching new state chapters and associations;
  • Writing letters to government officials to request better wages and working conditions;
  • Raising funds and building membership for their worker associations;
  • Speaking at conferences and other public events; and
  • Joining the Direct Care Alliance staff and board.

Read more about the Leonila Vega Voices Institute and the direct care worker leaders it has inspired.