Developmental disability service providers are the latest to join a list of employers who say they’re facing a worker shortage. Advocates say direct support professionals who left the industry because of health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic aren’t returning now because of low wages.
When someone has a developmental disability, they may need help doing everyday tasks like brushing their teeth or managing their medication. Direct support professionals are the people hired to help them. They typically earn about $10 per hour. Valerie Breen, Executive Director of the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, says lately that hasn’t been enough to keep them in their jobs:
“In our job market today, if you can get a $15 job and someone else can only pay you 10, and you’re going to have to work one on one with an individual hands-on, which job are you going to take in order to support your family?”