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Workforce Initiatives

OPRA members employ approximately 30,300 people across Ohio.  The vast majority of these 30,300 positions are direct care. Direct care staff (or Direct Support Professionals/DSP’s) provide the daily care and services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Funding constraints have severely limited the pay for DSP’s. Our recent salary survey showed that the average weighted pay rate for DSP’s was $10.24 an hour. Sixty seven percent (67%) of DSP’s are receiving some type of public assistance. To further illustrate the funding constraints, 19% of supervisory staff also receive some form of public assistance.

Workforce recruitment and retention in the DD system is at a crisis level. For obvious reasons, direct care staff are the cornerstone of any human service delivery system. We compete for employees with fast food restaurants and big box stores, many of which have raised their starting pay significantly above our $10.24 average. Member agencies are reporting staff vacancies of 20% and higher. This leads to significant overtime for those available to work, causing burnout and a tendency to leave the agency in search of a more stable schedule and better pay – which further exacerbates the problem. In 2013 the turnover rate for DSP’s was 47%. In 2016, turnover is at 51%; a 4% increase. The cost of turnover for one DSP position ranges from $3,000 to $5,000, depending on an agency’s structure. There are other costs as well, the most significant being the loss in continuity of care for individuals receiving services.

Reducing turnover and increasing DSP retention rates is a priority focus of OPRA’s. The recruitment and retention of direct care staff is the primary challenge of service providers today and into the foreseeable future.

This section of our website will provide you with information on the exciting projects we are engaged in to increase recruitment and improve the retention of DSP’s.

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