Rice Leads Bipartisan Effort to Address Shortage of Support Professionals
WASHINGTON – Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., is one of the leaders in a bipartisan effort to address an oft-overlooked area of jobs development — the dramatic shortage of support professionals to work with the disabled.
Rice, along with Reps. Peter King, R-N.Y., John Katko, R-N.Y., Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., is a sponsor of H.R. 6045, the Recognizing the Role of Direct Support Professionals Act.
The bill recognizes that direct support professionals provide critical support to individuals who experience disabilities, assisting with communication, providing on-the-job coaching, and helping with daily living needs.
However, it also notes that right now, there aren’t enough workers to meet demand, and home- and community-based service providers are struggling to recruit and retain more.
The bill aims to provide the U.S. Dept. of Labor and private sector employers with the data they need to better understand and respond to this pressing workforce challenge.
“The critical work of Direct Support Professionals has an immeasurable impact on the lives of those with disabilities and makes our society a better place,” Rep. Rice said.
“By addressing the shortage of Direct Support Professionals, this bill will go a long way in ensuring more people with disabilities can lead productive and fulfilling lives. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for joining me to address this urgent workforce issue,” she said.
By improving data collection, H.R. 6045 will:
- Provide states and the federal government with more accurate information about the workforce trends for Direct Support Professionals to help identify workforce shortage areas and report accurate turnover rates.
- Help identify where to implement targeted workforce training programs for Direct Support Professionals so that trained workers can meet local workforce needs.
- Recognize the unique role that Direct Support Professionals play in supporting individuals with disabilities and raise awareness of critical workforce needs.
The legislation is supported by the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, Inc., the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), the Arc of the United States, the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE), and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities.
“For years, ANCOR has advocated for better data on our direct support workforce because we fundamentally believe that robust data is a badly needed step toward solving the direct support workforce crisis,” said Barbara Merrill, chief executive officer for ANCOR.
“That’s why we’re so grateful for the many champions of H.R. 6045, whose bipartisan leadership will propel us forward significantly in our efforts to ensure people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can be supported by qualified professionals who enhance their quality of life,” Merrill said.
U.S. Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, have introduced bipartisan companion legislation in the Senate.
In The News
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. restaurants and stores are rapidly raising pay in an urgent effort to attract more applicants and keep up with a flood of customers as the pandemic eases. McDonald's, Sheetz and Chipotle are just some of the latest companies to follow Amazon, Walmart ... Read More
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research contends that working from home may be here to stay after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided. The paper — authored jointly by Steven Davis of the University of Chicago, Jose Maria Barrero... Read More
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday he is ending participation in all federal pandemic-related unemployment insurance programs to address workforce shortages across the state. Parson, a Republican, said they will end at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, June 12. "From conversations with business owners across the state,... Read More
STOWE, Vt. (AP) — Eduardo Rovetto is hoping the state of Vermont's reinstated requirement that people who are collecting unemployment benefits must seek work to qualify will help him hire enough staff for his restaurant in the resort town of Stowe. After more than a year... Read More
With the US unemployment rate essentially unchanged from March to April from 6.0% to 6.1% respectively, the American state of employment seems to continue on its positive track, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics latest report. Employment in nonfarm jobs increased by 266,000 in April,... Read More
WASHINGTON - By late 2020 over 2800 formal Equal Employment Opportunity complaints of discrimination - by race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and more - were submitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The fact that there are that many complaints in one year points... Read More