Minnesota Direct Support Workforce Project

Conducted statewide surveys of direct support workers and their employing organizations in Minnesota to better understand wages, benefits, size, and scope of the direct support workforce. The direct support workforce is one of the highest-demand and anticipated growth sectors in the U.S. and Minnesota. Expansion of this workforce is impossible without significant improvements in worker recruitment, on-boarding, development, and retention. These challenges impact individuals, families, and community providers who are finding it increasingly difficult to find and keep high quality employees. Meeting the promises of the Minnesota Olmstead Act is directly related to being able to provide adequate support in the community, and direct support workers are the ones that provide this support.

From July 2018-March 2019 this project conducted two surveys. An organization survey was sent to a randomized sample of the provider organizations across regions and service types in the state; they were asked to provide information about their organization. Each organization was also asked to randomly select three direct support workers to fill out a second survey. The results from these surveys will be used to inform and expand the conversation about wages, benefits and ways to improve the ability to find and keep good employees in Medicaid funded programs in Minnesota. Organizations can also use this information to make decisions about ways to support people and their employees who provide direct support. The statewide organizational survey was the first of its kind in Minnesota that queried providers across service types. The worker survey contained responses from the largest known recent sample of direct support workers in Minnesota.

This survey was conducted by the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota in partnership with Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and a group of provider trade associations including, Association of Residential Resources of Minnesota (ARRM), Care Providers of Minnesota, Leading Age Minnesota, Minnesota Homecare Association, and Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR). This survey was also approved by the advocacy groups of The Arc Minnesota, Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst (APSE), Minnesota Families and Advocates Coalition (MnFAC).