Status of the DSP Workforce

Recent data indicates that the direct service workforce is made up of over 4.5 million workers in the United States (PHI, 2017). The demand for direct service workers is expected to increase by 35% from 2008 to 2018 (PHI, 2012). Snapshot of the current direct service workforce by the numbers:

DSP Status Graphic

Individuals who receive supports and their families are the most affected by the consequences of high turnover. It takes time for a Direct Support Professional to build strong, trusting and supportive relationships with individuals and families who receive support.

Relationships with Direct Support Professionals directly affects both the quality of services a person receives and their quality of life.

Every chapter of The Arc, and individuals with disabilities and their family members served by chapters are affected in some way by the challenges of the direct support workforce. Many organizational members of The Arc recruit, select, train and support hundreds of thousands of Direct Support Professionals each year. Individuals receive support from these workers in their own homes, in family homes, or in more structured services such as group homes and employment services. Increasingly individuals and their families are expected to find, choose, train and retain their own workers.

Arc members and chapters are looking for tools and resources to help them address these ever-growing direct support workforce challenges.