It is definitely an employee market right now. Everywhere you look, there are signs indicating a need to hire people. Service at most places is slower due to the decrease in employees, forcing some to reduce their hours of business. It seems as fast food restaurants get more desperate they continue to increase starting wages with the hope of capturing the most employees. Employees know they can move from job to job easily in search of the best pay.
There are many industries, however, that do not have the ability to increase wages to entice potential staff. That includes positions in human services.
Service providers around the state have been experiencing never-before-seen staffing shortages. These shortages result in a huge decrease in the number of programs available to individuals in the disability community and their families.
Unfortunately, service providers don’t have the same freedom to increase wages, because they are based on funding allocated by the state. While there is an active effort to persuade our legislators of the effects of this staffing shortage, there is still more that needs to be done. The Utah Association of Community Services is continuing to ask for help from families, self-advocates and staff to share their stories.
Anyone interested in joining this campaign to advocate for help in increasing wages for Direct Support Professionals to increase services is being encouraged to share their stories with the decision makers. This can be accomplished either through the Executive Appropriates Committee at http://le.utah.gov/committee/committee.jsp?year=2022&com=APPEXE or the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee at http://le.utah.gov/comittee/committee/jsp?com-APPSOC.
In the meantime, as stories are told and strong cases are made for an increase in pay, I wanted to just make a plug for the work of direct care. There are many benefits to working in the field beyond the pay. First and most importantly is the ability to make a difference in someone’s life. It may sound cliché, but working with individuals with disabilities provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction beyond what you get from most jobs. Direct Care jobs are also very flexible and hours are staggered to work around most schedules. There are many direct care positions available in Utah Valley to choose from.
For families or caregivers of individuals with special needs, there has never been a better opportunity — or more important time — to get involved and advocate for your loved ones.