You, as a member of our CLASS family, need to know about the workforce crisis facing human services organizations like CLASS across the Commonwealth. Recruiting and retaining highly qualified Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) is becoming increasingly difficult in a tight labor market where our reimbursement rates from the state aren’t keeping up with the rising costs of employment.
The individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) served by CLASS depend on the DSP workforce to live successful, integrated lives in our communities. Unfortunately, there is currently a DSP workforce crisis, which means that the workforce is getting smaller as the need for services for people with I/DD increases. Low wages and poor benefits, along with other contributing factors, have led to a high turnover and vacancy rates. CLASS has an annual staff turnover rate of 35 percent, with 30 percent leaving in the first 90 days of employment. The Commonwealth must act now to turn things around. Our staff is motivated by a passion for their work, but they should not have to choose between their commitment to meaningful work and earning a paycheck that will sustain their families.
With this in mind, The Arc of Massachusetts is championing legislation in the Massachusetts State House and Senate, An Act relative to meeting the human services workforce demand (HD 1130). This initiative seeks investment during the next four years in our system to achieve the necessary salary levels to recruit and retain a qualified workforce, and to drive system innovation and improvement.
Find more information at TheArcofMass.org/workforce/ about The Arc of Massachusetts Workforce Initiative.
I urge you to contact your legislator and tell them you support the human services Workforce Initiative. You can find your legislators and their contact information at TheArcofMass.org/advocacy/ by clicking on “Take Action.”
Join us in supporting this bill and giving it, and the individuals we support, the priority they deserve!
President & CEO