Florida’s intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) nonprofit service providers, such as the Key Training Center, are in a Direct Support Professional (DSP) provider hiring crisis. The simple fact is that the iBudget Medicaid waiver has never been funded adequately. Florida’s average expenditures for an individual’s cost plan are low compared to national averages. In 2019, the state of Florida’s economy was ranked fourth largest and second in fiscal stability, but Florida is ranked 50th in funding individuals with I/DD in the United States.

Melissa Walker

Melissa Walker is the Key Training Center Executive Director.

The DSP national hiring crisis continues to be reinforced by reports through the President’s Committee on People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID), American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), the National Core Indicators (NCI) / Human Services Research Institute (HSRI), and most recently the PHI titled “It’s Time to Care: A Detailed Profile of America’s Direct Care Workforce.“ All reports declare recommendations of increasing wages of direct care staff and the creation of a workforce pipeline. DSP workers are a lifeline to millions of people with disabilities and their families and are among the nation’s most vulnerable workers due to low rates resulting in a DSP workforce plagued by turnover rates 40% to 50%, and for us, it’s over 40%. The Key Training Center cannot pay competitive wages when staff can go work at fast-food restaurants or retail stores for higher wages.

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