Their Voice: The Current State of Direct Care Workers | News, Sports, Jobs

It’s definitely an employee market right now. Everywhere you look there are signs pointing to a need to hire people. Service in most places is slower due to fewer staff, forcing some to reduce their opening hours. It seems fast food restaurants are getting more and more desperate, they keep raising starting salaries in hopes of capturing the most employees. Employees know they can easily move from job to job in search of the best pay.

However, many industries lack the ability to raise salaries to attract potential staff. This includes positions in social services.

Service providers across the state are experiencing unprecedented staffing shortages. These shortages result in a huge decrease in the number of programs available to people with disabilities and their families.

Unfortunately, service providers do not have the same freedom to raise salaries, as they rely on state funding. Although there is an active effort to persuade our legislators of the effects of this staffing shortage, much more needs to be done. The Utah Community Service Association continues to seek the help of families, self-advocates and staff to share their stories.

Anyone interested in joining this campaign to ask for help in raising the salaries of direct support professionals to increase services is encouraged to share their stories with decision makers. This can be accomplished either through the Executive Appropriations Committee at or the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee at /committee/jsp?com-APPSOC.

In the meantime, as stories are told and strong arguments are made for a raise, I just wanted to make a stopper for direct care work. There are many benefits to working in the field beyond salary. The first and most important is the ability to make a difference in someone’s life. It may sound cliché, but working with people with disabilities provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction beyond what you get from most jobs. Direct care jobs are also very flexible and the hours are staggered to accommodate most schedules. There are many direct care stations available in the Utah Valley.

For families or caregivers of people with special needs, there’s never been a better opportunity — or more important time — to step up and stand up for your loved ones.


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