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) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week but remained high by historical standards. Applications for benefits declined 111,000 from the previous week to a seasonally adjusted 730,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It is the lowest figure since late... Read More
WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced he's picked Kiran Ahuja to be his director of the Office of Personnel Management. If confirmed, Ahuja would be the first South Asian and first Asian American woman to lead the agency. Ahuja served for a little more... Read More
WASHINGTON -- A congressional subcommittee tried to assess the well-being and mental health of its own workforce Thursday after a year that one of its members described as “like drinking from a firehose while in freefall.” Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-N.Y., was talking about how the COVID-19... Read More
The National Restaurant Association is urging Congress not to increase the federal minimum wage as part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. The association said in a letter sent to congressional leaders Tuesday that fast-tracking a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour... Read More
As panicked Americans cleared supermarkets of toilet paper and food last spring, grocery employees gained recognition as among the most indispensable of the pandemic's front-line workers.A year later, most of those workers are waiting their turn to receive COVID-19 vaccines, with little clarity about when that... Read More
WASHINGTON – This week, Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Mark Warner, D-Va., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., introduced the bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act. The legislation requires the U.S.... Read More