Direct support providers work with honor, need a raise

Well, here we are again as a state with another surprising budget surplus forecast that exceeds one billion dollars for […]

Well, here we are again as a state with another surprising budget surplus forecast that exceeds one billion dollars for 2017!

The question is, will the workforce crisis be addressed or ignored again?

For the two years previous in 2015 and 2016, the state of Minnesota had a budget surplus that exceeded one billion dollars. The governor and the legislative leadership did not pass on any money, any cost of living adjustments to the lowest paid workers (our direct service professionals or DSPs) who work honorably, tirelessly, selflessly, and with dedication for people with disabilities each and every day.

Knowing full well that there are currently 9,000 unfilled positions and record turnover rates of people doing direct care work with our elderly, people recovering from devastating medical setbacks, and people with disabilities, some of our elected officials once again ignored and again relegated our invaluable direct care workers to the lowest priority level.

Confusing yes, disrespectful yes, and short-sighted yes.

“Life’s most urgent question is: what are you doing for others?” said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

DSPs dedicate their lives to doing for others every day. They promote choice and integration. They are the reason someone is cleaned, fed and dressed for the day. They are the reason individuals are able to attend their doctor appointments. They are the reason individuals are able to work, pay taxes, contribute to our economy, and get out into our amazing community. They are the reason people are not stuck in their homes, not feeling all alone, and devalued. They bring joy, respect, dignity and happiness to those who may need help through no fault of their own.

We know as a society that anything can happen to anyone, at any time and that the true greatness of any society is how we support and take care of each during periods of need. Additionally, we dedicate ourselves to making sure that our loved ones are given the opportunity to reach their highest potential no matter what the setback or disability.

It is the DSP, this low paid worker, this invaluable individual, that dedicates him or herself every day to improving all of our lives.

Governor and legislative leaders, please address the workforce crisis and the direct service crisis as your top priority in 2017. Listen to the many elected officials who worked tirelessly and champion our cause. Do the right thing! Show the world how Minnesota values our workers who are the backbone and foundation for caring for all of us.

-Norm Munk is the chief executive officer of Partnership Resources, Inc., St. Louis Park.

 

 

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