Editor note: The following news release is published here with permission from the Consortium for Idahoans with Disabilities. The consortium appreciates the partnership with the Idaho Department of Labor to spread the word about this issue.
BOISE – (Jan. 6, 2021) – A shortage of direct-care workers who serve Idahoans with intellectual and physical disabilities and aging seniors is becoming more acute due to multiple factors, including low wages, safety concerns related to the corona virus pandemic, and difficulty finding people to work in the direct-care field, officials said Wednesday.
More than 17,355 of these Idaho citizens, many of whom live alone, with a spouse or family in their own homes or apartments, need daily in-home support either through self-directed programs or community service providers, each funded by Medicaid. Wages for direct-care workers can range from a low of $7.25/hour at the state minimum wage to $10-$15/hour, depending on education, experience and budget.
“The workforce shortage has gotten worse with the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s extremely difficult to keep our employees,” said Becky Baily, an administrator for the Center for Independent Living in Twin Falls. “A number of our employees and staff have had to stay home in quarantine or they’ve been hospitalized with COVID. We have a number of full-time shifts to be filled.”