When a Michigan resident experiences a mental illness or developmental disability, they should be able to hire the help they need to ensure their safety and wellbeing. But right now, they can’t.
In today’s tight labor market, it is difficult to find a Direct Care Worker, whether you are looking for care for yourself, a loved one, or hiring an employee for your agency. This leaves our state’s most vulnerable residents at risk.
Our coalition proposes a General Fund appropriation of $127.0 million in FY 23 which would increase the average starting wage rate in the behavioral health system to approximately $18.00 per hour. That’s what many entry-level jobs pay across the state right now and is the least we can do to compensate our Direct Care workforce.
With significant amounts of GF dollars and pandemic-related federal funding available to the state right now, Michigan has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address the long-standing direct care workforce crisis in a meaningful and sustained manner.
Let’s reach out and make it happen.
What Michigan Needs Today
We urge Michigan leaders to make the temporary $2.25/hour increase permanent and consider other options for providing compensation that reinforces the value of Direct Care Workers and represents a more competitive wage in today’s job market.
What Michigan Needs Tomorrow
In addition to providing adequate compensation to Michigan’s Direct Care Workers through the state budget, our state’s policy leaders can do more to stabilize and advance the profession by introducing a Direct Care Worker statute that includes:
- Mandatory spending that is annually earmarked and tied to inflation;
- A special fund to support direct worker training programs, ongoing professional development and the annual expense of mandated Direct Care Worker certifications; and
- Career pathways that can help workers grow and advance in the profession.