Toughest JobThe Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love is a grassroots awareness initiative with training for those in direct care delivered in one-hour modules or a one-day program (in person or virtually). 

  • Provides messaging tools, guidance, and opportunities for peer outreach activities
  • Encourages professional empowerment outside the workplace
  • Identifies natural leadership skills and various styles
  • Challenges elected officials, the public, educators, employers, and others to change the way they think and talk about direct care to enhance the image
  • Promotes direct care as a career choice or a stepping-stone to another health profession
  • Focuses on recruitment and retention strategies


Kudos to Barb Weston, Recent Graduate of “Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love” Program

Since completion of the program which focuses on taking responsibility for changing the way we think and talk about direct care, Barb has:

  • Attended Iowa CareGivers (IC) statewide conference “Caregiving: It’s Universal” on scholarship
  • Participated in an interview about her chosen career in direct care
  • Volunteered during the statewide conference
  • Participated in an October forum “Building a Strong Direct Care Workforce”
  • Volunteered during the forum
  • Prepared a legislative mailing at IC office

Way to go Barb!  And Thanks So Much!  


Thoughts on “Direct Care: The Toughest Job  You’ll Ever Love” from those doing it!

Those who have chosen a career in direct care took part in a conversation about what they view as “The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love”. Working in a high demand occupation that is dwindling in numbers is challenging. Their discussions about how they can help to educate the public about who they are and what they do for Iowans of all ages and abilities produced laughter, tears, and inspirational messages that will become part of a future messaging campaign. Thanks to all who participated!  

"The best part was that all of our comments were not ignored, overlooked, or judged.  They were listened to in an atmosphere of understanding and acceptance."— Fran Mancl 

Click here to read the entire article.


I left Iowa Central Community College proudly wearing my new “Direct Care: The Toughest Job  You’ll Ever Love” t-shirt. Standing in line at the coffee shop (refueling for the ride home) a stranger was staring at me. Finally she spoke, “Are you in direct care?” she asked.

“Yes, I am.”

“I really admire the work of you and your colleagues. You make such an incredible difference in the lives of the people you work with.”

“Thank you”—Leslie Hayenga Adams   

Click here to read the entire article.

Click here to view the photo galleries for the Waterloo and Fort Dodge events.