ST. LOUIS, Mo. (July 8, 2021) – The Missouri General Assembly, with leadership from Governor Mike Parson, recently made the largest one-time investment in fixing the Direct Support Professional (DSP) crisis and increasing disability provider’s rates. Thanks to the roughly $56 million investment, Easterseals Midwest, the leading nonprofit provider of disability services in the Midwest, is able to increase starting pay to $15 - $22.50/hour and offer up to $1,500 in bonuses for new employees in their first year.
This is a major step forward in solving Missouri’s DSP crisis. According to the Institute on Disability/UCED, there were more than 800,000 people with a disability living in Missouri in 2020. Easterseals serves more than 5,000 individuals and families impacted by disabilities each year. DSPs are the essential workers who provide around-the-clock care to people with disabilities.
But because of a thin budget previously set by the Missouri legislature and the often challenging work, more than half of DSPs left the profession within their first year in 2019. The crisis has left disability providers like Easterseals with constant positions to fill.
“There’s nothing that compares to what a DSP does,” Cathy Brown, Vice President of Public Policy for Easterseals Midwest, said. “They’re teachers, medical care providers, cooks, chauffeurs, financial advisors, counselors – they’re a very important constant in the lives of the people we serve. We want to be able to pay them a fair wage for their work, and this is definitely a step in the right direction.”
The Governor signed the budget into law on Wednesday, June 30, standardizing rates for disability providers throughout Missouri.
“We can’t say this is just ‘mission accomplished’ quite yet,” Brown said. “But this gets us so much closer to being able to pay a competitive wage and stabilizing a workforce that’s been in crisis for years.”
Easterseals is currently hiring for several positions throughout Missouri. If you or someone you know is interested in employment with Easterseals Midwest, visit www.joineasterseals.com.
About Easterseals Midwest | Easterseals Midwest is a nonprofit organization changing the way the world defines and views disability by making profound, positive differences in people’s lives every day. The organization employs 1,800 employees delivering services to more than 5,000 individuals statewide through four divisions: Autism Services, Community Living Services, Early Childhood Services, and Employment Services. For more information about Easterseals Midwest, visit www.easterseals.com/midwest.