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Direct Care Worker Crisis

Commitment

Incompass Michigan knows one of the top challenges our members face is a shortage of direct care workers. The pandemic has elevated the need for increasing wages for direct care workers and we continue to work on professionalizing the industry.

Michigan can't afford not to promote innovative solutions to attract and retain a quality direct care workforce and professionalize the field.

Without the necessary investment in highly qualified workers, and career pathways for direct support professionals, the quality of care and safety of persons served may be compromised - and providers will not be able to meet the demand for necessary services

Coalition

Incompass Michigan has joined forces with several organizations across the state working together to bring attention to the Direct Care Worker Crisis through a coalition focused on raising wages for Direct Care Workers. Learn more at https://arcmi.org/micarecrisis/

 

Incompass Michigan Position Statement on Support for Direct Care Workforce

In collaboration with several other statewide agencies supporting people with disabilities, Incompass Michigan signed on to a position statement urging the Michigan Legislature to not ony continue the temporary premium pay funding for direct care workers (DCWs), but sustainably address the need to develop longer-term strategies that support DCWs as they provide high-quality, person-centered care statewide. The collaborative also supports allocation of federal funds to:

  • establish a baseline hourly rate of $18.00 with annual Cost of Living increases, needed to stabilize the DCW job sector;
  • develop a meaningful infrastructure for training DCWs, long overdue and essential to both stabilize the profession and provide better outcomes for those who receive services;
  • braid available funding sources to help build the foundations for future training scholarships, job placement activities, and recruitment plans.

Click to view the full position statement.

Partnership with the IMPART Alliance

IMPART Alliance and Incompass Michigan have entered into a mutually beneficial agreement which underscores both organizations' commitment to build and support professional Direct Care Workers (DCWs) through coalition building, statewide advocacy, and opportunities for person-centered DCW training.

Our partnership includes a series of classes that IMPART is piloting and offering over the next year, free of charge, for direct care staff of Incompass Michigan members. These virtual, interactive one-hour classes will be delivered live, via Zoom - and provide staff the opportunity to participate in final testing and development of a comprehensive DCW training program that aligns with training requirements under consideration by the state of Michigan. Direct care staff who take the classes will receive a certificate of attendance. 

Seven 1.5 hour professional DCW classes have now been scheduled for piloting and are open for registration! They will occur the first Wednesday of every month through October 2021 from 3:30 – 5pm. The first hour is class-time and the final half hour is for student feedback that will help us improve our trainings.

For a schedule of trainings and more information on registering, contact ldell@incompassmi.org.

Survey of Michigan Direct Care Workers Shows Impact of COVID-19 on Profession

The Institute on Community Integration’s Research and Training Center on Community Living for Persons with intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at the University of Minnesota, in partnership with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, conducted a survey of approximately 9,000 direct support professionals (DSPs) from across the country about their experiences supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a six-month follow-up report to the initial report completed in April 2020 and is the largest study conducted on the direct support workforce.

Key findings include:

  • Nearly half (47%) said they had been exposed to COVID-19 at work and their exposure was higher in congregate facilities than in individual or family homes.
  • 97% of workers self-identified as essential workers, but only 30% received salary augmentations.
  • Black/African American DSPs were paid less per hour than white DSPs, and a higher percentage of Black/African American DSPs worked 40 or more additional hours per week.

Click here for Michigan specific data.

Click here to access the full report.

DSP Task Force

Chaired by Cherie Johnson, MMI - the Task Force meets quarterly and is focused on challenges and opportunities for direct support professional staffing including wages, training, credentialing, and workplace culture.

Task Force participation is open to all staff of Incompass Michigan member organizations. To be included on notifications of upcoming workgroup details contact LDELL@incompassmi.org

All meetings will be held virtually until further notice, the next one is June, 8 2021 at 2:00 pm.

Staff of Incompass Michigan member organizations can also join the online DSP Community of Practice.

Direct Support Staff Workplace Survey Report

Incompass Michigan and the Michigan Assisted Living Association (MALA) collaborated in conducting a workforce survey in November 2020. 83 organizations employing approximately 24,000 direct support staff responded to the survey. The resulting report provides important information on wage levels, turnover rates and other workforce data which is critical to our shared advocacy with state legislators and other policymakers.

The report demonstrates the depth of the direct care staffing crisis in Michigan, and provides support for our advocacy with the legislature to invest in direct care wages as a necessary measure to ensure the availability of quality behavioral health services and supports.

A summary report has been issued from the most recent direct care workforce survey, highlights from its findings include:

  • Average starting wage rate – $11.44/hour
  • Average current wage rate – $12.76/hour
  • Average annual turnover rate – 37.3%

The average starting wage rate statewide of $11.44 per hour from the survey findings remains less than $2.00 per hour above the state’s current minimum wage rate of $9.65 per hour, which increases to $9.87 per hour effective January 1, 2021.

2021 Incompass Michigan/MALA Workforce Survey Report (PDF)

2020 Incompass Michigan/MALA Workforce Survey Report (PDF)

2019 Incompass Michigan /MALA Workforce Survey Report (PDF)

2018 MARO/MALA Workforce Survey report (PDF)

May 7, 2021: Direct CARE Opportunity Act Introduced

The US House of Representatives saw the introduction of the Direct Creation, Advancement, and Retention of Employment (CARE) Opportunity Act, legislation that invests more than $1 billion over five years in training and increasing opportunities for our nation’s direct care workers. The Direct CARE Opportunity Act aligns with a key piece of the American Jobs Plan, which calls for significant investments to meet the surging demand for home and community-based services. Recent research indicates that, between 2018 and 2028, the direct care workforce is projected to add more than 1.3 million new jobs.

To meet the need for a well-trained and empowered direct care workforce, the Direct CARE Opportunity Act:

  • Invests in strategies to recruit, retain and advance the direct care workforce pipeline;
  • Implements models and strategies to make the field of direct care more attractive, including training, career pathways, and mentoring, which will allow for local and regional innovation to address workforce shortages and needs;
  • Encourages retention and career advancement in the growing field of direct care;
  • Responds to the needs of a growing aging population and allows older Americans, people with disabilities, and others who require direct care services to remain in their communities, when possible,
  • Supports the health and wellbeing of those who need and rely on direct care services, helping to prevent costlier institutional care.

For the bill text of the Direct CARE Opportunity Act, click here

Click for a fact sheet on the Direct CARE Opportunity Act.

Advocacy Center

You can easily contact your legislators about important issues through the Incompass Michigan Advocacy Center including campaigns on the Direct Care Wage Increase.