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Recruitment and Retention Challenges for the Workforce Delivering the Most Frequently Used Supports and Services

May 25, 2016

This report presents the results of a diverse workgroup of long-term care stakeholders in Michigan, convened to examine the causes of high staff vacancies and general instability among the state’s workforce of direct support professionals (DSPs). The workgroup concluded that immediate action should be taken to raise DSPs’ wages and improve their benefits. The workgroup also concluded that DSPs’ meager compensation is “not aligned with the job responsibilities and expectations.” PHI Michigan Manager Hollis Turnham and PHI Midwest Director Tameshia Bridges Mansfield represented PHI in the workgroup.

Key Takeaways

The direct support workforce plays a critical roles in securing a “great qualify of life, safety, and independence” called for by the Michigan Mental Health and Wellness Commission.
An estimated 44,000 people in Michigan are employed in direct support positions that deliver much-eeded Medicaid behavioral health supports and services.
The average starting wage for direct support staff is $8.69 per hour.

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