NJ's DSPs Deserve Competitive Wages - #PayFair4DirectCare

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The Direct Support Professional (DSP) workforce that serves individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) under the Division of Developmental Disabilities is in crisis with 44% turnover and 20% vacancy rates. The average starting wage of a DSP is only $11.00 per hour – which will be New Jersey’s minimum wage in less than one year for jobs that require significantly less skill and responsibility. And with many big box stores and retailers already paying $13-$15 per hour, recruiting and retaining qualified DSPs is only becoming more difficult everyday.

A state appropriation of $54-million in new funding is needed in FY2020 to ensure the starting DSP wage for those who support adults with I/DD is 25% above New Jersey’s minimum wage and accommodates raises to pay rates for work performed. Without this state funding, the DSP workforce crisis will worsen. Workers will likely continue to move to less demanding jobs at comparable pay, leaving individuals with I/DD without the critical supports they need to survive each day.

Building and retaining a strong, qualified workforce requires a commitment to people with I/DD and the critical workers who support them. Please help us achieve this goal by telling lawmakers $54-million is needed in FY2020 to help bring DSP wages more in line with the responsibility, training and specialized skill set required for the complex work.