For Immediate Release
April 20, 2021
Contact: Stephanie Van Koevering, 517-974-6065
Survey of Michigan Direct Care Workers
Shows Impact of COVID-19 on Profession
Temporary Wage Increase Essential for Michigan DCWs
State policymakers’ decision to add funding to support Michigan’s Direct Care Workers
has made a notable difference to their compensation, according to a national survey
released this month.
While Michigan’s Direct Care workforce started off at a mean hourly wage that was
substantially lower than their peers across the U.S., 75 percent of them benefited from
the temporary wage increase introduced by the governor and legislature, compared
to just 30 percent across the nation.
“These increases show that Michigan families facing developmental disabilities and
mental illness were better supported during the pandemic by workers with added
incentives to be on the job,” said Sherri Boyd, executive director of The Arc Michigan.
“We very much hope the temporary increase is made permanent, so we can continue
to offer the strongest possible services to Michigan families.”
The survey also showed Michigan’s Direct Care Workers were well-supported during
the pandemic with PPE, training, and social distancing. These protections allowed
them to provide essential personal care, training, emotional support and respite to an
estimated 100,000 Michigan residents with mental illnesses or developmental
“During the hardest period in recent memory, Michigan can be proud of the fact that
its people—from the state capitol to the smallest, quietest moment of generous
service from one human being to another—all of us rose to the occasion,” said Scott
Schrum, CEO of Residential Opportunities Incorporated. “It’s humbling.”
The Institute on Community Integration and the National Alliance for Direct Support
Professionals collaborated to gather evidence about the experiences of the direct
support workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic and to inform efforts to better
prepare for future waves of this pandemic. Full survey results are available at
https://ici.umn.edu/covid19-survey, with the Michigan-specific results available here.